'It was too dangerous to check in to our Airbnb': Singapore traveller to Athens targeted by pickpockets twice in 24 hours

PHOTO: TikTok/Calladion

Think holidays are a time for complete relaxation and letting go of all your worries? Well, not always.

Thanks to her vigilance, one woman and her family from Singapore recently escaped the sticky fingers of pickpockets while travelling in Athens, Greece.

And it didn't happen just once, but twice within 24 hours.

In videos posted to TikTok on Tuesday (Dec 13), user Calladion shared her unpleasant experience, which began right after they landed.

While on the train from the airport to their Airbnb accommodation, she noticed two men "winking at each other" and "behaving suspiciously". They were also obviously "listening to [her family's] conversation attentively" to know where they were heading, Calladion shared.

At their intended stop, the two men got off the train as well. The woman immediately told her family to stay put in the station to allow the men to exit first.

Thinking that the coast was clear, they proceeded to exit the station when suddenly, the escalator they were on came to a halt.

"When I turned back, I saw one of the guys [had] deliberately pressed the stop button," said Calladion.


Realising that it was the same men who were on the train, she immediately shouted in Mandarin to her family, "No, no, no, don't let them touch our luggage".

True enough, the men acted quickly and pretended to help with the luggage, said Calladion.

Despite the family "rejecting them aggressively", she shared that during that time, her uncle had felt a hand reaching into his pockets.

Thankfully, his pockets were empty as Calladion had forewarned her family to keep any valuables in their bags and hold it close in front of them.

But their ordeal didn't end there.

The two men were still seen lingering at a bus stop nearby after Calladion and her family got out of the station.

"We stood there for a good 15 minutes because we didn't want them to follow us to our Airbnb," she shared.

Although Calladion thought they had lost them for a bit, the same men reappeared again as they were trying to navigate their way to the Airbnb accommodation.

"I decided that it was too dangerous for us to check into our Airbnb, because if they know where we are staying, they can camp there or bring more people along the next day to attack us again," she shared.

A decision was made to check in to the nearest hotel instead. But they were told it was fully booked when they got there, despite checks online indicating rooms were available.

By then, it was already midnight.

"There was eight of us with two children and the [hotel] staff did not offer us any help," said Calladion, expressing her disappointment.

Trying her luck with a credit card concierge service, she eventually managed to secure a place to stay for the night.

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The second incident occurred the next day, when Calladion and her 12-year-old cousin were walking along a shopping street in the city.

There, a man suddenly came up to the boy and casually put a hand over his shoulder as he struck up a conversation with him.

In the next moment, a woman walking in the opposite direction knocked into her "real hard".

Thankfully, Calladion shared that she had been walking with folded arms, clutching her sling bag to her chest the whole way.

"No chance," she added emphatically. "The main takeaway [from the experience] is that they'll always try to distract you before they pick your pockets."

The savvy traveller gave also shared some other tips to stay safe while overseas, including carrying a sling bag instead of a backpack.


But if you have to use a backpack, one useful tip is to use a keychain to secure the two zippers together.

And remember to put your phone down, especially in crowded places.

She added: "When you're in the metro or in crowded places like tourist attractions or shopping streets, do not use too much of your phone. Be focused, observe your surroundings, and keep a lookout for each other."

"If you feel like you're being followed, don't be in a hurry to get off the train or to exit the station," Calladion shared, adding that one should enter a convenience store or a restaurant if they feel like they're being followed.

Another tip is to put valuables in the most hidden compartment of the bag, placing miscellaneous items on top of it "so it's not that easily reachable."

Last but not least, "do not accept help from strangers, if possible".

Unfortunately as a result of being on guard all the time, the trip turned out to be quite a stressful one for Calladion.

In a reply to a comment, she expressed feeling "quite tired every day when I reach my hotel".

The experience has also made her grateful to be living in Singapore.

Other commenters shared similar experiences while travelling in Europe, with one sharing that travellers to Greece should also be wary of the ol' money swap tactic.

A netizen indicated, however, that he did not feel unsafe during his two-week solo trip to the same Greek city.

PHOTO: Screengrab from TikTok/Calladion

Just goes to show, one can never be too careful when overseas.

AsiaOne has reached out to Calladion for more information.

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