Phnom Penh Phone Snatchers Get More Than They Bargained For

Two men on a motorbike who attempted to steal a Canadian tourist’s smartphone got more than they bargained for Monday in Phnom Penh after they were chased down by people near the scene of the crime, beaten and arrested by police.

Witnesses saw the two suspects—Meas Odom, 27, and Nob Seprey, 23—being chased down by an angry mob on Street 9 in Chamkar Mon district. The men tried to weave through traffic but were quickly caught by the crowd and thrown to the ground.

A man who snatched a smartphone from a commuter in Phnom Penh's Chamkar Mon district is caught and beaten Monday.
A man who snatched a smartphone from a commuter in Phnom Penh’s Chamkar Mon district is caught and beaten Monday.

The Canadian man who allegedly had his Samsung Galaxy phone stolen while riding in a tuk-tuk joined a group of Cambodians who punched and kicked the suspect. The tourist fished his phone out of the alleged thieves pocket before police eventually intervened and drove the men—still able to stand and walk on their own—away on motorbikes.

Heang Thirith, deputy Chamkar Mon district police chief, said that the suspects would be sent to court to be charged shortly.

“We are compiling the documents and will send them to court tomorrow or the day after tomorrow,” Mr. Thirith said.

January saw a steep spike in patients injured after attempted or successful bag snatchings in Phnom Penh, an official at the International SOS medical clinic said Monday.

In the two weeks of January, before Chinese New Year, the number of patients per week with injuries from snatch thefts, which is usually a handful per month, rose four-fold.

That number has since returned to normal, the official added.

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