TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- A gang of South Korean pickpockets who were pretending to accidentally bump into passersby to pilfer their pockets where arrested near Taipei 101 on Saturday, according to city police.
Taipei police said that a group of about three worked together to steal bags from passengers at the Taipei Main Station on Jan. 29 and succeeded in grabbing approximately NT$30,000 (US$969) and divided their ill-gotten gains on the spot. The trio then left Taiwan with their spoils, but police began to trace their movements via CCTV footage on the MRT and in public areas.
According to police, each of the thieves would play a different role: one person would bump into the targeted victim to distract them, while another person would slash their purse or backpack and steal its contents, and a third person would conceal the movements of the second person from potential witnesses or cameras.
Eager to prey on more victims, the group returned to Taiwan and checked into a hotel in Ximending with two additional female suspects on Saturday. The police were able to tail the five suspects to Taipei 101, where they allegedly were preparing to start a fresh round of pickpocketing on the lunch crowd before they were apprehended by authorities.
The suspects were found to be carrying stolen wallets and cash and are currently undergoing questioning. The police are investigating the possibility that the five are part of an even larger pickpocket ring.