When we first got here there were three constant things that people would tell me:
1) eat street hawker food – check
2) go to the malls – quadruple check
3) beware of purse snatchers - unfortunately, check
As of last week I can check off being a victim of a purse snatching attempt. I was walking home from the metro station, on the same two minute route that I always take, and on a very public and busy street, when two men on a speeding motorbike approached me. That’s how they do it here, one guy drives while the other sits in the back and sees what he can get away with. It’s a major problem here and whereas before it was common at night, it is now far too common to occur during broad daylight.
I’ve seen bikes on sidewalks before so I simply I thought that they were making a u-turn from the adjacent one-way street and I took steps to the side to get out of the way. But, within seconds, I felt and saw the guy sitting on the back pull my hand-purse, let go, and then speed away. I didn’t realize what had happened until they were gone. I was in shock. Never in my life have I experienced a violation like that. Thankfully there were two women behind me who witnessed it and had it not been for their post-attempt company I don’t think that I would have kept my calm the way I did. What was most troubling was how casual the encounter had been: the guy went for it but when he realized that I wasn’t holding my bag loosely enough to snatch it easily, they continued on … perhaps to the next victim. No big deal, just another afternoon and another drive-by.