VIDEO IS GRAPHIC. VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED
KUALA LUMPUR: Local snatch thieves seem to be engaged in an escalating battle of one-upmanship, striving to outdo each other in terms of opportunism, brazenness and savagery.
Gone are the days of the straightforward snatch-and-grab, perhaps considered too ‘mainstream’ by the trendsetting hipster set of the rob-and-run fraternity.
There is now an element of creativity in the violent yanking-away of handbags or mobile phones, with victims routinely twirling through the air like theatrical figure skaters; slamming handsomely into a wide array of street furniture; or plunging in a variety of complicated styles into filthy storm drains.
Having your prey simply tripping or falling over is so last decade.
But a ‘rising’ snatch thief in Penang is making his hardworking peers look like complete amateurs.
In a grisly incident in Bukit Tengah last week, a 19-year-old shop assistant was targeted while walking to her car in a parking lot at 9.30pm.
According to the Daily Mail, the girl was accosted by a ‘well-built man’ who made a grab for her handbag. Perhaps out of reflex, the victim struggled to keep hold of her property – only to have the bestial assailant brutally plunge a kitchen knife in her face, before fleeing with his loot.
An eerie viral video captured by a passer-by depicts the immediate aftermath of the robbery-cum-assault, as policemen and stunned members of the public are seen grouped around the victim, who is upright and calm, in the astonishing way people in shock tend to behave.
The final 20 seconds of the 51-second footage offers a closer view of the victim – who looks every bit the kawaii K-pop girl group member, with the exception of her blood-soaked white schoolgirl top.
Perhaps by design, only the closing second of the video provides a fleeting close-up of the girl’s face – and rightly so, as the viewer is zapped by the surreal sight of the large handle of a knife jutting out of a gaping wound in her right cheek.
Though it lasts but a second, the close-up jabs the gut, and leaves a discomfort that endures.
Let us hope for a renaissance of the old-school snatch thief – he of little courage, and even less imagination.