Two men commended for helping to nab snatch thief

SINGAPORE - Trainee lawyer Tan Choon Hiang had just climbed up the stairs from the train platform at City Hall MRT station on Thursday night when he heard a woman shouting about a thief.

Turning around, the 24-year-old saw a man running up the escalator. As he ran past, Mr Tan grabbed him and held him, with the help of another passerby Edwin Liew, 33, who was chasing the suspect from behind.

Both men were commended by the police yesterday for their help in nabbing the suspect.

"All this happened within 12 seconds," said Deputy Assistant Commissioner Daniel Tan, Commander of Central Division.

Mr Tan, who was given a plaque for his efforts, said he was on his way to meet his friends for dinner when the incident happened.

"I wasn't really thinking, I just turned around because there was a loud noise ... My thought was if he gets away we can't find him again," he said.

The victim was a 64-year-old woman travelling from Raffles Place to Orchard at about 8.30pm when the iPhone she was using was snatched by a 26-year-old man.

Mr Liew, who works in the finance industry and was on the same train, said he heard the commotion after gettig off the train and instinctively gave chase to the suspect who raced up the escalator.

He could not make the commendation ceremony yesterday because of work commitments, but said over the phone: "I was more concerned about whether I could actually help.When you're dressed in work attire the shoes are slippery and aren't the best for running."

There were 54 snatch theft cases from January to June this year, compared to 81 in the same period last year. Snatch theft carries a jail term of up to seven years and is liable for caning.

kxinghui@sph.com.sg