Chain snatchers strike Goa's tourist belt

Last Updated: Mon, Feb 04, 2013 12:40 hrs

Panaji, Feb 4 (IANS) Chain snatchers are back in business in Goa where four such incidents have been reported at the coastal police stations in the last few weeks, police said Monday.

Last week, Russian national Oksara Peshrova lodged a police complaint that two unidentified men on a motorcycle snatched her gold chain and mobile phone near Calangute beach.

In another such incident in the last week of January, US national Jeana Heckling was on her way to Palolem beach when two people riding a motorcycle snatched her handbag which had her mobile phone and cash.

"In both the cases, two men on a motorcycle are involved. They distract the victims and snatch their bags or chains," a police official said, adding that people usually do not report such incidents to police.

He said that in two other snatching incidents, the victims were locals.

Last year, the UK had issued an advisory asking British nationals to be on guard against chain snatchers operating in the area. The advisory can be accessed on the UK's Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) website.

"Travellers staying in hotels on the smaller roads in the Candolim-Calangute belt are advised to be particularly careful when walking to or from the main road as there have been reports of bag-snatchings taking place on these stretches since the beginning of 2012," the advisory says.

"The perpetrators approach on two-wheelers with headlights on full-beam to blind their victims, snatch the bags and speed off," it further adds.

Goa sees nearly 2.6 million tourists annually, out of which half a million are foreigners.

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