Chinese pickpocket targets Japanese tourists on Taipei MRT

Chinese pickpocket has been victimizing Japanese tourists in Taipei MRT stations since September

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Sign warning of pickpockets.

Sign warning of pickpockets. (By Wikimedia Commons)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Police have captured a Chinese pickpocket who has been targeting Japanese tourists in Taipei MRT stations since September, reported Liberty Times

On Oct. 4, police arrested a Chinese man surnamed Dong (董) after he was seen on surveillance cameras picking the pockets of Japanese tourists. After questioning Dong, police now suspect he may be part of an international ring of pickpockets, and will continue to expand their investigation. 

Police believe that Dong was instructed by the ring that, because foreign tourists generally cannot speak Chinese, they are less likely to report the thefts to the police, and will instead only file travel insurance claims. In Dong's case, he focused on Japanese tourists, who he would spot by walking close to them in Taipei MRT stations and listening for a Japanese accent. 

Once he heard tourists speaking Japanese or other languages with a Japanese accent, he would follow them and wait for the opportune moment to pick their pockets. On Sept. 23, while on an escalator inside the Taipei 101/World Trade Center MRT station, Dong used a coat to conceal his hand and waited for the moment a Japanese tourist was not paying attention to steal 30,000 Japanese yen (US$267) from his pocket.

On Sept. 30, again on an escalator inside the MRT Taipei main station, Dong repeated using a coat to conceal his movements as he stood behind a Japanese tourist and stole 70,000 yen from their pockets. 

After receiving reports of the two incidents, police believed the two crimes were related. They began an investigation, started to review surveillance camera footage, and identified Dong as the suspect. 

After several days of tracing his movements, they arrested Dong at the Zhongshan MRT station and transferred him to the Prosecutor's Office on charges of theft. Dong is currently being detained, and the police are continuing to expand the investigation into the international pickpockets ring that dispatched him.