Fri, Jun 09, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Mongolian ‘tourists’ arrested for pickpocketing

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Police yesterday reminded the public to be alert about their personal possessions in crowded places and transport hubs after rounding up a Mongolian pickpocket ring that allegedly targeted commuters on the Taipei MRT.

“We have three suspects detained on theft charges and they are from Mongolia. The case is now under investigation by prosecutors to determine if they have other accomplices,” said Huang Kuo-shih (黃國師), chief of the criminal investigation unit at Taipei’s Daan Police Precinct.

The main suspect is a 21-year-old man surnamed Ankhbayar, who was detained with two older compatriots, both of whom entered Taiwan on tourist visas together with their Mongolian girlfriends.

The three men had been nabbed for theft and were detained in June last year, but were released on bail in February with restriction on their movement, police said.

“This group allegedly went to pickpocket at Taipei MRT stations and in train carriages, targeting female passengers in particular. We therefore urge the public to keep a close watch on their personal belongings and not to leave tote bags and purses open,” said Huang.

Police showed video footage of the group in action at a station, which they said showed Ankhbayar targeting a woman carrying an open bag, lining up behind the woman as she got on the escalator to the platforms.

The video footage allegedly showed Ankhabayar standing right next to the target while stealing her possessions, but his action was obscured by other passengers, and subsequent frames showed the suspect surrounded by his accomplices on the escalator to allegedly share the loot and make their getaway.

Taipei police raided the suspects’ residence in New Taipei City earlier this week, where they recovered materials allegedly stolen from MRT passengers, including cash money, store gift vouchers and seven EasyCards.

Taipei prosecutors yesterday said they were investigating the case and reviewing the evidence to see if the suspects’ girlfriends or other Mongolian nationals had acted as accomplices.

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