We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Foiled attempted robbery- Georgetown. Same guy, 2nd time.

Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
51 posts
101 reviews
Save Topic
Foiled attempted robbery- Georgetown. Same guy, 2nd time.

Foiled attempted robbery in Georgetown.

Second time to meet this situation, with the exact same thief.

PART 2 - How it worked tonight (JULY 1st at 8.30pm)

Near the fire station on Chulia Street as I walked, alone , towards the Jetty at about 8.30pm.  This is a major street (not  a dark street).  There was a lot of car traffic but no other pedestrians.  He suddenly pulled up on his motor bike just in front of  a parked car ( I was near the rear of the car), and my instinct said not to get trapped against the wall so I walked around the car on the road towards him.  He stepped off the bike, adjusted his large, squarish, sling-style, black bag and slowly  reached into  his righthand pocket for something, which he concealed  in his left hand under the bag as he stepped towards me while saying "  Excuse me".  It all happened in  a flash but it was a word-for-word, action-for-action repeat of what had happened in January, by the exact same guy.  He terrified me in January so it  was  a horrible  deja vu moment.  This time I screamed "No", "Go away  " instantly, as I backed away from him.   He walked back, silently, to  his bike and did a U-turn in front of me, therefore giving me time to write his number/license  plate.

After his "Excuse me" , he had nothing else to say after I screamed.  He didn't try to explain I was mistaken, didn't try to apologise for scaring me, or  keep asking what he wanted to ask.  This is why I strongly feel it was an attempted robbery situation.

I then headed back to Little India to be among the crowds, giving up on  walking to the jetty area.  I planned on eating something in Little India, but 5 minutes later  he passed me again on a very crowded street in  Little India.    Not sure if he was following me or just that this area of Georgetown is his territory.  I walked to a crowded bus stop and hid at the back of the crowd , while waiting for the bus , feeling a little shaken.

PART 1 - How it worked , in daytime, in January.

First he saw me near the Chinese temple on the Street of Harmony.  It was a Sunday, I think, as it was fairly quiet.  Maybe 3 or 4pm.  He suddenly stopped his bike, got off the bike and said  "Excuse me"  ,  like he needed help.   But as he spoke, he moved towards me really fast, and much too close to me , so I stepped back away from this "too close for comfort" interaction just as someone came around the corner.     I kept walking and he disappeared.   I was puzzled but really thought no more of it.  Until an hour or so later as I was  waiting for a bus outside St George's church ( near the museum) and he rode  past, stopped his bike,  slowly adjusted his big bag before coming back to the bus stop to talk to me.   I noticed he pulled the bag over his body in a strange way, I  felt he was concealing something and my guess , reflecting later on this, was that it was a knife.  At that moment I realised (1) it was the same guy, and (2) that there wasn't anyone else on the street (lots of cars driving past but no-one walking nearly).  He started with "Excuse me" as he continued to move closer to me.  He then said something along the lines of " there are few buses running so did I want a lift" as he continued walking towards me .  He was  still about 2 meters away  and coming closer.  I had an umbrella in my hand which I put up  between us, and I screamed at him to go away.  I backed away from him while still screaming at him, actually stepping onto the road; taking my chances of being run down, yet hoping that someone would stop rather than run over a screaming tourist.   He quickly moved back to his bike and there was a strange movement as he put away whatever was hidden under the bag. 

I didn't do anything about this (other than tell my family about it) . Not really sure what I could have done, as all that had happened is that I had foiled something from happening.

You can imagine the shock to have it all happpen again tonight.

I will talk to Malaysian friends on Monday to ask if it is worthwhile going to the police about this.  Yes, I have his license plate number , but I am unsure if the police can actually do anything, as nothing actually happened once I screamed.

I am not trying to scare tourists as this can happen anywhere in the world, but  would like to warn females who may be walking alone in Georgetown, day or night, that this has happened.  I feel that he may target women, rather than men ; as I am 5 foot 6 and he was a little shorter than this. Please be very aware of your surroundings as you move  around the heritage area.  Certainly be careful of  a guy on  a motorbike, wearing a white helmet and carrying a big sling-style bag, who  actually gets off the bike  while saying "Excuse me".

For readers  who may think  I am a naive first time tourist;

I  never ever wear a watch nor any kind of   jewelry. Never, not just when I travel.

I was wearing runners, baggy shorts and a shirt.  Nothing ritzy or brandname.

I was carrying a small , sports-style, sling bag, with nothing valuable inside.  Just a water bottle and  a book plus a notebook.

My coin purse , with a tiny amount of money , was in my pocket.  I don't carry a wallet when I use the Penang buses.

I was carrying a canvas bag, with 2 bottles of wine in it.  Now I realise it would have made a great weapon (joke).

I have travelled solo  to 50 plus countries,  without a problem.

I have studied  basic self defense, and thank my lucky stars I could back away from him.  I never ever walk alone down dark streets. 

I trust my instincts to keep me safe.

I have been  living in Penang on and off for the past 5 months.

Gold Coast
Level Contributor
5,915 posts
33 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Foiled attempted robbery- Georgetown. Same guy, 2nd time.

Not sure why you have not been to the police already?

Washington DC...
Level Contributor
1,892 posts
156 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Foiled attempted robbery- Georgetown. Same guy, 2nd time.

am glad that you are steady.

Penang
Destination Expert
for Penang Island
Level Contributor
907 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Foiled attempted robbery- Georgetown. Same guy, 2nd time.

Would suggest you proceed to make a report. Georgetown area, quite a number of police do their round there compare to other part of the island.

Well, at least provide us the bike number plate to alert other here.

India
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
Level Contributor
5,278 posts
174 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Foiled attempted robbery- Georgetown. Same guy, 2nd time.

What an awful experience to have happened twice to you, I really do hope your not to badly affected by this after such a short length of time of being in an area that is now your home.

I would go to the police and give them all the information you have. They may or may not do anything but at least you have reported it.

It goes to show that we all have to be on our guard and you certainly took care of yourself with the situation.

Take care

Penang
Level Contributor
84 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Foiled attempted robbery- Georgetown. Same guy, 2nd time.

Please give his bike number so all can be on the lookout.

Thank goodness you are ok

Petaling Jaya...
Destination Expert
for Malaysia
Level Contributor
7,590 posts
105 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Foiled attempted robbery- Georgetown. Same guy, 2nd time.

Report it to the police. They may or may not do anything about it, but if you don't report it for sure nothing will be done about it.

new jersey
Level Contributor
87 posts
26 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Foiled attempted robbery- Georgetown. Same guy, 2nd time.

Why have you not reported this to the police? Could you please give a description of the person, the color of the bike, his helmet, etc so that we could be on the look out instead of just paranoid? Thank you!

Down Under
Level Contributor
708 posts
16 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Foiled attempted robbery- Georgetown. Same guy, 2nd time.

Iclement, there was a description supplied.

"be careful of a guy on a motorbike, wearing a white helmet and carrying a big sling-style bag, who actually gets off the bike while saying "Excuse me"."

Thank you for your post, it is good to be pre-warned of such things while you are on holiday and feeling carefree. I think you were very clever in avoiding this person and your actions, and IMO saved you from an even nastier encounter. Please do report it to police, you had the clear mind to get his details, now try to use them to foil him from trying it again. Well done :)

new jersey
Level Contributor
87 posts
26 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Foiled attempted robbery- Georgetown. Same guy, 2nd time.

Thank you. I missed it in the post!

Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
51 posts
101 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Foiled attempted robbery- Georgetown. Same guy, 2nd time.

Police report lodged after three attempts. Time spent in police station was 4 hours i all, which is why I didn' go to the police on Saturday evening.

The Tourist Police could not actually lodge a report so I then needed to get to an actual police to do the report.

Second attempt at a regular police station. The station was full to overflowing on Monday so I left after an hour: the main problem may have been the language issue.

Third attempt started with a Hardy and Laurelesque scramble as the officers tried not to be the one left to deal with me. A very capable young female officer was nominated to deal with me.; her boss asked that I type the actual report on their computer. (the langauge barrier at work) .

I would prefer that woman just be careful of all motorcyclists in Geortown. As it is a possibility for him to change bikes, for the license plate to be a fake etc. etc.

Will be back on the streets of the UNESCO area later fhis week as the Georgetown Festival kicks off from about June 8th till July 7th. A month of fabulous festivals, art events and more. But I will be careful to always stay with the crowds.