Police at the scene where Yeap Ah Kong @ Yeap Bak Seng, 73, was fatally stabbed in Parit Buntar, Perak, on July 6. Pix by Shaiful Shahrin Ahmad Pauzi

A  SNATCH theft claimed another person’s life when the victim was stabbed in the abdomen while trying to stop two suspects from stealing his wife’s necklace in Parit Buntar, Perak, on July 6.

Yeap Ah Kang @ Yeap Bak Seng, 73, and his wife, Teow Siew Gaik, 67, were jogging near a fast food restaurant in Taman Wawasan when two men on a motorcycle appeared and tried to snatch Teow’s necklace.

A struggle ensued between the victim and the suspects before one of the suspects stabbed the victim with a sharp weapon, believed to be a knife. The victim died at the scene.

This case, and other fatal cases, have an important lesson for all, that is, to value their lives more than what they possess.

We must remember that money, valuables and documents can be replaced, but not our lives.

Victims must assess the situation and decide whether they can fight back.

Our advice to people is that when their lives are  in danger, they shouldn’t fight back.

Fight back if the situation warrants it, with the help of the public, but not when there’s a heavy price to pay.

Snatch thieves may have weapons and may attack victims in their attempt to escape.

More than 60 per cent of crimes of opportunity, including snatch thefts and burglaries, are committed by drug abusers who would not hesitate to use force against victims.

Life is priceless and victims have a lower chance to fight back if they are alone and the snatch thefts occur in secluded areas.

Just like drugs, snatch thefts must be declared a public enemy.

We urge people to never give criminals the opportunity to strike, such as by not wearing valuables when jogging in secluded areas.

They should discard the mentality that such crimes “are never going to happen to them” and should take measures to avoid being victims.

They must know tactics employed by snatch thieves, such as  asking for directions before snatching victims’ bag or valuables.

There are cases where snatch thieves went to victims’ house and asked for an address or pretended that they wanted to deliver a letter or a package.

People must be street smart when walking alone.

At the same time, the Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation hopes the police can increase patrolling or station more men in areas rife with snatch thefts.

The number of plainclothes policemen must also be increased.

Another step is to install more closed-circuit television cameras in snatch theft-prone areas.

All these measures are important since street crime is on the rise, although the overall crime rate has dropped.

Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, Senior vice-chairman, Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation

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