GEORGE TOWN, Jan 24, 2016:

Police nabbed five foreigners, believed to be members of a snatch syndicate, who merely came to Penang to snatch valuables off Hindu devotees during the Thaipusam celebrations here.

Timur Laut district police chief Assistant Commissioner Mior Faridalathrash Wahid said the thieves, comprising four women from India and a man from Sri Lanka, were picked up in separate locations here since 9 am yesterday.

“Six women, aged between 50 and 70, lodged police reports after they realised they had lost their gold necklaces during the procession of a chariot bearing a statue of Lord Murugan which began at 6am from a temple in Lebuh Pantai to the temple in Jalan Kebun Bunga,” he told reporters here today.

Acting on the reports, he said police set up a special team and managed to pick up two female suspects in Lebuh Pantai before arresting three other accomplices.

The suspects, aged between 30 and 42, were believed to have arrived in Penang last Friday just for the clandestine activity, he said.

Mior Faridaltarash said police were in the midst of tracking down other members of the syndicate believed to be around Thaipusam celebration areas statewide.

“Police have also increased control in these celebration areas and the public have been advised to be wary of these cunning thieves who are capable of snatching valuables without the victims realising it,” he added.

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