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Two Vietnamese pickpockets arrested in Thailand

Tourists are seen at Terminal 21 shopping mall in Thailand's Bangkok capital
Tourists are seen at Terminal 21 shopping mall in Thailand’s Bangkok capital

Thai police have detained Two Vietnamese pickpockets said to be preying on foreign tourists at Bangkok’s crowded shopping malls.

Le Phuoc Thanh, 38, and Nguyen Van Ty, 36, were apprehended on Friday after being caught pilfering a wallet from a German tourist at the Terminal 21 shopping mall, a 20-minute drive from downtown Bangkok.

The arrest came several days after local police received a complaint from the German tourist, whose name has not been revealed, saying a pickpocket gang had stolen his wallet at the shopping mall on July 13, the Bangkok Post reported on Saturday.

The wallet, worth about 13,000 baht ($395), contained cash worth $2,648, the newspaper said, citing Pol Maj Gen Surachate Hakparn, acting chief of the Immigration Bureau.

Following the tourist’s complaint, police officers checked the mall’s surveillance camera footage and identified the two suspects.

Investigation found that the cutpurses often targeted foreign tourists at busy shopping malls and train stations, but got away with their crime because many foreigners did not file complaints after being robbed.

There may have been other pickpocketing victims of the duo who have not reported their being robbed, Thai police said.

A pickpocketing gang of 15 Vietnamese who changed their names and re-entered the country on fake passports, were arrested in a massive crackdown by Thai police last June.

They had earlier been deported and banned from returning to Thailand.

The number of Vietnamese visiting Thailand saw a 6.48 percent year-on-year increase in the first four months of 2018, putting Vietnam among the top 10 countries in the number of tourists visiting the kingdom, according to a recent report by the Tourism Authority of Thailand.