Thursday, November 17, 2011

Traveler's Alert: Japanese Tourist, 32, Injured After Chasing Purse Snatcher in Saipan

A female Japanese tourist, 32, was dragged several meters by a car after she chased after a man who had grabbed her handbag as she was walking near Garapan, in Saipan, on the evening of November 16). Witnesses reported that the victim and her boyfriend were walking on the shoulder of a road when a suspect who had been hiding in the area suddenly surprised the couple and snatched the woman's bag.

The victim and her boyfriend subsequently chased the suspect, only to have him jump into a waiting SUV which quickly sped off. The woman then grabbed the door on the passenger's side of the vehicle and was dragged a number of meters until she fell, sustaining heavy bruising. The incident occurred near the former Wax Museum of Saipan along Ginger Avenue. No one has been arrested.

COMMENT: As I have cautioned in other postings, instinctively chasing after a suspect is not a prudent idea, particularly when you have no knowledge as to whether they are armed or unarmed.

As many of our readers will recall, I filed a posting last month on a female Russian tourist who was robbed of her valuables and rental car by a man armed with a screwdriver.

On June 24, a 70-year-old Korean businessman suffered serious injuries when an unidentified man attacked him with a hammer and robbed him near his restaurant in western Garapan.

Garapan is the largest village and the center of the tourism industry on the island of Saipan, which is a part of the United States Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). It is located on Saipan’s west coast and is home to the majority of the island’s major hotels and the American Memorial Park, which honors American soldiers who died during the Battle of Saipan. Garapan also now has newly built Paseo De Marianas, a popular tourist attraction.

Most crimes of opportunity tend to occur in Garapan. Hence, it is best to avoid walking in isolated areas, particularly when alone. The safest way of getting around is to rent a car, as taxis are very expensive.

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