Once and for all: Do NOT wear a thief gold necklace around your neck in Pattaya after dark or carry more cash on you than what you really need when you leave your hotel room for a night walk around town.
Only two nights ago, a young Chinese tourist had a gold necklace worth over 40,000 Baht snatched from around his neck as he was walking down a street in Naklua by night.
Now that’s pretty much business as usual. We’ve covered incidents like these time and time again and must admit we’re getting somewhat tired – not so much of covering these stories but of the, well, half-wits so-to-say who fall victim to such crimes again and again. (This is by no means to excuse these crooks but simply to appeal to your common sense.)
Others get robbed of their necklaces or wallets filled with hundreds of dollars by ladyboy hookers or other petty crooks along the beach promenade particularly after dark.
The script is always the same: They chat you up, hug and distract you – and at the same time steal your wallet from your trouser pockets. Once you realize you’ve been had it’s too late and the thieves have long disappeared into the dark.
The victims are often Indians and Chinese who for some reason seem to have a tendency to show off their wealth more than other tourists or might simply be less prudent than Western holidaymakers.
But it’s not exclusively Asian tourists. Just a couple of weeks ago, Thaivisa.com reported, a British expat (yes, he was British and not even a tourist) had part of his expensive necklace “worth in excess of 100,000 Baht” snatched from around his neck in broad daylight.
Fortunately (or well, to a certain extent), the victim and his Thai wife were quick-witted enough to fight off the mugger for some seconds. Still, he eventually wrestled himself free and escaped on a getaway motorcycle – albeit with just one half of the heavy gold chain.
The robbery prompted the police to warn of a “spate of similar robberies” in the Pattaya area “in recent weeks” – which is quite apparently an understatement.
Not only had a Korean tourist who “had just arrived in Pattaya hours earlier” had a gold necklace worth 180,000 Baht snatched from around his neck on the same day; crimes like these have happened for years on a nearly daily basis.
In fact, the frequency is so high that we’ve been getting increasingly tired of covering all these petty crimes that could have easily been prevented, no, not by more police presence on the nightly streets of Pattaya (the Boys in Brown are busy enough setting up road checkpoints all over town and breathalyzing foreign motorcyclists) but simply by using common sense.
After all, Pattaya isn’t actually dangerous for tourists – or not more so than Paris or Calcutta might be. In fact, Pattaya is a relatively safe destination – if you follow some very basic rules as the ones we stated above.
Opportunity makes a thief as the age-old saying goes, so just don’t give potential wrongdoers a chance – be they ladyboys or other crooks on Pattaya Beach Road or snatch-and-grab thieves on motorbikes.
The people of Pattaya are in general friendly and want you to be safe and sound during your vacation. But as elsewhere on this planet too, there’s a sizeable amount of small-time crooks and outright scum on the streets after dark. So try to be as prudent as we’re sure you would be on the nightly streets of Phnom Penh or Manila.
In other words: Do NOT wear a thick gold necklace or carry unnecessarily large amounts of cash on you when you hit the town (not just) after dark. If you follow a few simple guidelines – and these are just the most basic ones – you will be safe and sound in Pattaya.
UPDATE (January 30) – As was to be expected, there were (at least) four further victims who had their necklaces snatched in Pattaya since we posted this story a few days ago.
Under the headline Necklace snatchers target Asian tourists in Pattaya, the Bangkok Post reported on Sunday that two Korean tourists in two separate cases in a single day had their gold chains snatched from around their necks by snatch-and-grab thieves on motorbikes. One necklace was worth 150k Baht, the other one 88k Baht.
Both incidents happened as the tourists were walking back to their hotels on Saturday, one in the early morning hours and one in the evening, and the culprits were males in both cases.
Today it emerged then that in the early hours of (also) Saturday another two young Russian tourists, again in two separate cases, also had their necklaces snatched in Pattaya.
One of them was walking along Jomtien Beach Road after midnight when he was approached by two ladyboys on a motorcycle who managed to snatch his gold necklace worth an estimated 175k Baht.
The culprits (minus the gold necklace which had been already cashed in and the money spent) were eventually tracked down through the number plate of their motorbike which had been captured by security cameras in the area. Police said the duo were responsible for (at least) three similar crimes in the last couple of weeks.
The second Russian victim that night was approached by a gang of four ladyboys on Walking Street in the early hours of Saturday. When he rejected their invitation to a fivesome or whatever one of the katoeys smashed him in the face while another one ripped a gold necklace worth an estimated 150k Baht from around his neck.
In total, that makes four necklaces snatched in a single day. Probably a new all-time record.
UPDATE (February 4) – Under the headline Tip of the day: Don’t go out in Pattaya wearing gold, Thaivisa.com have a roundup of some of the most recent necklace theft cases that have hit the streets of Pattaya – among them a Chinese tourist who lost a gold necklace worth an estimated 70k Baht to a ride-by thief on Soi Neunplabwan, and a Finnish woman who “had only arrived in Pattaya hours earlier” and had two (!) gold necklaces snatched from around her neck on Soi Wat Boon in Jomtien.