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Lauren Wombey's Australian driving licence, found on Rawai beach

Phuket Bag Snatch Attack on Young Aussie Woman

Friday, August 6, 2010
Phuketwan Updated Report

A YOUNG AUSTRALIAN tourist has been treated in a Phuket hospital after an early-morning bag snatch that went wrong.

The 25-year-old woman was walking along the beach road at Kata, on Phuket's west coast, when a man on a passing motorcycle slowed and attempted to take her shoulder bag about 12.45am.

The Australian tourist fought back, say local police. She was hit with a piece of wood, according to initial reports.

The tourist, Lauren Michelle Wombey, of Ermington, New South Wales was treated and discharged from Patong Hospital.

The bag snatch took place on the tree-lined avenue outside Club Med Phuket, one of the island's first resorts.

Police at Chalong, who oversee security at Kata, said that the woman lost 3000 baht in cash, a digital camera and credit cards in the theft.

Her Australian driving licence, the credit cards and other bills and documents, together with a couple of Australian dollar coins, were recovered from Rawai beach in south Phuket this morning. Ms Wombey's possessions are available for her at Chalong Police Station.

Attacks on tourists are not common. But youth crime and drug-taking are on the rise on Phuket.

With less employment available during what's know as the tourism ''low'' season, the bags or tourists sometimes are seen as possibly holding a solution to financial problems.

This year, attacks have also been reported at Karon, another popular beach south of Patong.

A more violent incident that left an Australian man with a slashed face after a machete attack in Patong led to the Australian embassy issuing a 50,000 baht reward for information leading to the arrest of the attacker.

The reward has not been claimed.

Australians visit Phuket in large numbers and the danger of motorcycle injuries or death is considered to be greater than the threat from local criminals.
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Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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"Attacks on tourists are not common" says the above article!??

It would be more correct to write that "Attacks on tourists are increasing" considering all the reports in the news over the last year or so.

Posted by KRR on August 6, 2010 14:17

Editor Comment:

Please tell us the statistics you must have seen before saying with such certainty that attacks on tourists are increasing. News reports are snapshots, nothing more. To somehow imagine that they tell the whole story is to fall victim to paranoia and poor judgement.

Until we see the statistics, we will stick by our statement: Attacks on tourists are not common.

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Is it that hard to spell peoples names correctly?

Posted by Bobby Brown on August 6, 2010 14:43

Editor Comment:

It is when your name is not Bobby Brown.

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If we believe your reports it would appear stories of attacks on Tourists are more common and the reasons you've presented as motives for attacks would be increasing with the economy shrinking since 2007.

Posted by Mike Hunt on August 6, 2010 15:42

Editor Comment:

I'm not sure who 'we' are in this case, Mike, but news reports are written when 'we' hear about incidents that are worth reporting. I don't think reports of attacks on tourists are any more frequent this year than they were last year. Thais are obviously the victims in the vast majority of cases. Because of the absence of statistics, there is no way you or any other keen analyst can draw the conclusion from our reports, or any other news reports, that attacks on tourists are on the increase. The most reliable stats we have are those presented to the last honorary consul's gathering. They do not show any worrying indications of an increase of crimes on tourists. What's certainly true is that Phuket has a greater problem with young people who view the future as bleak and turn to drugs and theft. Police are worried about an increase in crimes committed by Thais on Thais. Attacks on tourists are not common.

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She was walking on the beach side of Club Med or the other side with the hotels and bars?
The beach road is extremely dark with no traffic! What was she doing there? And how did the crooks find her there, wonder if she was followed.
Scary I was leaving a restaurant nearly opposite Club Med last night and did notice teenagers in the parking area just sitting around and wondered what they were up too..

Posted by VFaye on August 6, 2010 17:11

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absolutely agree...why try to sugar coat this..attacks on tourists are increasing...there has most definitely been more reports over the past 2 years or so of tourists getting attacked...

Posted by sky on August 6, 2010 17:31

Editor Comment:

There is no evidence to support that contention.

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Ed

This is unbelievable. You continue to defend the indefensible. Fxck your pedantic request for "evidence" and "statistics", this is for you to provide, not your guest commentators, and you should not be so instantly dismissive. Clearly this is further in a long line of bad negative news, and it should not be a matter what road or on what side of the road the victim was walking etc Your amateur approach to journalism, with your constant demands for casual commentators to provide "evidence" is pisspoor. People are being Fxxcked over regularly in many shapes and forms, and this is a fact and it is getting worse, and you should be taking a stance that is against this rather than putting it all down to "c'est la vie" and "it's worse elsewhere" and "there's no evidence" and your other nihilistic nonsense.
Again - You are a shocking disgrace, and time for you to hang up your pen and kid gloves. You are way outnumbered by those who can see the true reality of the sad recent decline, not just in this but in many issues overall. Phuket is changing but you are some kind of lickspittle to a regime/system that deserves diddlysquat. It is turning to crap. We can all see it.

Posted by stuart on August 6, 2010 21:51

Editor Comment:

We go through this regularly, Stuart. Expat fear knows no boundaries. Imaginations run riot. Suddenly, there's a crime every two seconds . . . if you really do wish to curl up under the sheets and call for mother, go right ahead. But just let me repeat: there is no evidence of increased crime against tourists. You seem to think numbers matter when it comes to opinion, but you can't produce any to justify your childish bleatings.

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"Sky", are attacks increasing or are the reports increasing? I'd say, with more media now in Phuket, that there are more reports. I wait to be corrected. And no, that's not a request for BDSM.

Posted by Tanya Millibank on August 6, 2010 22:49

Editor Comment:

What's a BDSM?

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Bondage Discipline Submission/Sadism Masochism, BDSM for short, Ed.Glad to be of assistance here.

Posted by Graham on August 7, 2010 13:55

Editor Comment:

I can see my education has been neglected. Thanks.

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"Attacks on tourists are not common"????
Short memory, eh? Forgot the "Kata/Rawai hill road" attacks? The killed Norwegian captain, huh? You forgot that already, plus all the other incidents... You talk about statistics. Are you serious? You certainly must be a noob around here. I wouldn't believe ANYTHING written down by Thais!

Posted by BOM on August 9, 2010 05:04

Editor Comment:

Hello BOM. No, we haven't forgotten the Norwegian captain's murder, or ''all the other incidents.'' Based on the small number of expats on Phuket and the large number of Thais, expats have just as much to fear from other expats. And your last sentence tells us everything we needed to know.

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It seems to me that half the correspondents to Phuketwan claim it is merely a medium for promotional PR stuff to sell Phuket while the other half seem to say it is merely full of negative news to damage the place.

Stuart, I guess you fall fall into the former camp, but - and please don't take it any other way than the way it is intended - if I could award a Twat of the Week cup, you'd get it.

Posted by Tanya Millibank on August 9, 2010 06:04

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"Attacks on tourists are not common. But youth crime and drug-taking are on the rise on Phuket."

Are you suggesting that the attack was carried out by a youth on drugs??

Posted by another steve on August 10, 2010 12:38

Editor Comment:

No. We leave all suggestions and assumptions to readers.

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This article is about me! The unfortunate thing was that I was in Phuket only a few months ago, I wish I knew my belongings were handed in to the police station there. How long would the police hold onto the items for? I have a Thai friend who may help to translate so that i may get my camera at least back as my credit cards and drivers licence have since been replaced. I'm coming back again to Thailand in October except this time we are staying in only Koh Samui and Bangkok.
The police report was also incorrect, i was not hit over the head and i did not fight back. The motorcycle passed me and snatched my bag but as my arm was stuck in the bag i was dragged and fell on the ground with my head smacking against the gutter of the road.
Can anybody help me get my belongings back? Please email me.

Posted by Lauren Wombey on May 11, 2012 19:49

Editor Comment:

I'm surprised there isn't an arrangement where the Australian embassy is sent these items, then tracks you down. Best ask the embassy to chase up your stuff. The camera? Unlikely. I hope the other items are still being kept safely somewhere. Please let us know the outcome.

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The problem in Thailand when filing police reports is that they are in Thai. If you don't read Thai and have no-one to translate, you have no idea what you are signing.

Having filed a few myself I've noticed that it's not unusual for the police to type down their own version of the events, regardless of what you tell them. When asked to correct it, on several occasions they have become quite agitated.

Never EVER sign anything you can't understand. Ask for a copy if you don't have someone with you to translate and come back to sign it when a trustworthy person has translated it to you.

Posted by Steve C. on May 11, 2012 20:35

Editor Comment:

''The problem in Thailand'' . . . well, if Thai police weren't writing up statements in Thai, what language would you expect them to be in, Steve C? If you were a Thai person in the US or Britain, you would be wise to take the obvious precautions of having your statement in English translated to Thai to avoid misinterpretations, just as an English-speaking person in Thailand would be wise to do similar. As the person involved in this case hasn't said this was a ''problem,'' it's a left-field point. Far worse not to go to the police.

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Ed
This is unbelievable. You continue to defend the indefensible. Fxx your pedantic request for "evidence" and "statistics", this is for you to provide, not your guest commentators, and you should not be so instantly dismissive. Clearly this is further in a long line of bad negative news, and it should not be a matter what road or on what side of the road the victim was walking etc Your amateur approach to journalism, with your constant demands for casual commentators to provide "evidence" is pisspoor. People are being Fxxxed over regularly in many shapes and forms, and this is a fact and it is getting worse, and you should be taking a stance that is against this rather than putting it all down to "c'est la vie" and "it's worse elsewhere" and "there's no evidence" and your other nihilistic nonsense.
Again - You are a shocking disgrace, and time for you to hang up your pen and kid gloves. You are way outnumbered by those who can see the true reality of the sad recent decline, not just in this but in many issues overall. Phuket is changing but you are some kind of lickspittle to a regime/system that deserves diddlysquat. It is turning to crap. We can all see it.

Posted by stu on May 11, 2012 23:11

Editor Comment:

This article dates back almost two years and we haven't noted an alarming increase in crime on Phuket since then. Bad language seems to be a serious issue, though. Logic too is in decline.

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@ Ed

Please try to resist the urge to patronize your readers.

Of course they will be in Thai but most foreigners cannot read Thai. Thai is not the international language that English arguably is. Yet most developed nations provide translations services for free when foreigners deal with the police or justice system. Be they victims or suspects.

Phuket repeatedly claims to be a holiday destination of international standards. Perhaps it would be time to start implementing those standards that actually benefit and add security to foreigners here.

The victim clearly states the police report was incorrect.

Posted by Steve C. on May 12, 2012 08:51

Editor Comment:

It's likely the reporter was quoting a verbal report from police on the following shift, not the official written police report. If police in the West provide Thai translators in places 600 kilometres from their capitals, I would be very surprised. No need for lame lectures, thanks.

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"Attacks on tourists are not common"
3 days ago the same in front of Pizzeria da Mario in Kata Center at about 6 p.m. exactly where tuk tuk stop. Motorbikes taxi try to follow the snachters (3 young boys) but didnt't catch them..

Posted by Dave on May 12, 2012 11:44

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Logic is not in decline, you are just for some almost unfathomable but certainly partisan reason an apologist for the "regime", and not an advocate for change like most committed journalists with a passion. You pretend to be in the business of noticing things. You - and not your laymen readers - should provide the statistics - in fact you often publish the official (but hardly accurate) stats, so just compare them year on year, instead of rubbishing your readers observations and (ridiculously) demanding your customers to do their own detective work. You are sloppy rude, and in denial.

Posted by stu on May 12, 2012 19:09

Editor Comment:

Which 'regime' is that, stu? Your ''expats know best'' regime of laymen, the one that excludes women? As a user of our free new service, how does that make you a ''customer''?

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I'm trying to get in touch with the Australian embassy so hopefully whatever was found is returned to me. Thank you so much for posting this article, it has provided me with at least some closure after a very traumatic event.
Just for the other readers, I'm very aware I was doing the wrong thing. It was 1am in the morning almost, I was walking on the side of the road with my partner in front and my bag was pretty easy for the snatcher to steal. We were walking to the 7eleven to withdraw some money so we could buy some food as our hotel's room service closed at 11pm and I was feeling sick as my blood sugar had dropped. It's a hard lesson to learn but I'll continue to holiday in Thailand regardless because these things even happen at home in Australia.
And in regards to translating, a local Thai person was helping me with translating as best they could to the police for me so how the information got so wrong is beyond me, and if i didn't sign the paper I wouldn't be able to get my report to claim with my travel insurance so it was a catch 22, I did the best I could with a bad situation. The plus side? The hospital staff were more than efficent and the follow up appointment with my GP in Kata was lovely and compassionate and spoke very good english.

Posted by Lauren Wombey on May 23, 2012 12:28

Editor Comment:

Thanks, Lauren. I wish more people would tell us their experiences and put these cases in perspective.

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Last time, I had to sign a police report, I signed: "I dunno what i sign." Nobody cared anyway.

Posted by Lena on May 23, 2012 14:51


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Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa

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