Drama at Ang Mo Kio: Passers-by chase snatch thief for 300m

SINGAPORE - A snatch thief had police officers and passers-by in hot pursuit last Friday evening.

The drama ensued after the man snatched a woman's purse at the Teck Ghee Court Market & Food Centre at Block 341, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1.

The victim, a butcher, had been cleaning up her stall and was preparing to go home for the day when the man, who sported bleached blonde hair, snatched the purse which contained her day's takings.

The butcher, who declined to be named, told reporters at Shin Min Daily News and Lianhe Wanbao: "I immediately chased after the man and shouted 'Robbery!'

"After a short run, I managed to retrieve my bag with the help of one passer-by."

The good Samaritan, Mr Zhuang Rongfa, 47, told the evening dailies that he was determined not to let the thief get away and so he kept up the chase.

Three other young men who were at a supermarket nearby heard the shouts for help and joined in the chase.

The pursuit continued to nearby Block 315B, on Ang Mo Kio Street 31, where another three men ran up to help.

The police soon joined in.

In a desperate bid to shake his pursuers, the man jumped off the second-storey parapet of a block.

Mr Zhuang said: "The man was really energetic. After he jumped off, he continued to run through Block 315A before ending up at Block 319, where he ran up to the second storey again.

"When he saw the policemen, he tried to jump off again."

But this time, he was arrested by the police and hauled back up.

Mr Zhuang, who estimated that they ran about 300m, said: "It was a good thing the police managed to arrest the man, otherwise the effort and energy (expended) would have been wasted."

But the thief, he told reporters, was not remorseful.

"He grinned at onlookers who had been attracted by the commotion," Mr Zhuang recounted.

The police said it received a call for assistance at 4.58pm and a man in his 20s was arrested for theft.

Investigations are ongoing.

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