The Man in the Red Helmet…The day spent in the Malaysian ‘Polis’ station

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With a rev of the engine he was gone.

Red Helmet - moto thief Kuala lumpur

And so was my purse, along with my brand new $600 unlocked smartphone.

Are you f***ing kidding me?

Standing outside a Chinese temple in the middle of Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I was waiting for Adam to snap his last few pictures, it happened. I was the victim of a ‘snatch-thief’. This was a street we had spent much time on over the last few days, but today it’s a crime scene.

Red Helmet - moto thief Kuala lumpur-2

Motorbikes riding down the sidewalk is a normal, yet very annoying, occurrence in Southeast Asia. It didn’t take me by surprise to see a motorbike pull off the road and onto the sidewalk just in front of me. I glance away to see if Adam has made his way out yet, and that’s when I feel the tug… I whip my head around only seeing the red helmet. It happened so fast my brain was still processing as he was already weaving through traffic.


He was probably watching me, waiting for just the right moment. When he saw it, he drove up onto the sidewalk as I looked down, and grabbed the bag right out of my hands. I can still feel it being ripped away, such an aggravating feeling.

Panic and freak out, set in as we rushed back to the room begin to change every password on every account signed into the stolen phone. Probably not likely that the red helmet wearing bastard has even the slightest interest (or even read the English text) in what apps I have, but we figure better safe than sorry. Plus I really don’t want him getting ahold of my Instagram account and sending you all dirty pictures… The strange things you think of after just being robbed.

Saturday afternoon in the polis stationcop car malaysia

There are very few destinations I would rather visit less than the “Polis” Station in downtown Kuala Lumpur, however, that’s exactly where I found myself after more than an hour-long process, I finally got the police report I needed for my insurance. I was handed the keyboard to type my report and walked through the questions.  One interesting question was my religion….he asked what religion and looked at me and says Christian and moved onto the next question without ever waiting for my response.  Not sure what religion has to do with my police report.  He also wanted my address, my mother’s address, and my work address. Also, don’t forget your passport, that was also necessary to file a police report.  We left being told that we would be contacted by the investigating officer if they come up with anything… I won’t be holding my breath. There are literally hundreds of thousands of motorbikes in Kuala Lumpur, and since the theft we’ve noticed red is an extremely popular helmet color.

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Hannah doing her best version of a reenactment at the crime scene

Things could have been worse, we weren’t hurt, it was just stuff. Stuff is replaceable. There were a few other things lost too, including our small point and shoot camera, and a little bit of cash. The worst part about it is without a doubt losing the pictures on my phone. We took extensive videos of the Thaipusam festival the day before on that phone and hadn’t yet download them.

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Dear man with the red helmet (and now my belongings), karma will find you.

Have you ever had any stolen while traveling?

Don’t forget your insurance! You never know when you’ll need it. We suggest getting travel insurance with Safety Wing. Which coverage includes medical, trip interruption, lost luggage, and more. Often rates are as low as $12 a week. 


17 thoughts on “The Man in the Red Helmet…The day spent in the Malaysian ‘Polis’ station”

  1. Sorry to hear that. Snatch theft, as what we Malaysians call it, is a common occurrence here & there were even cases where a victim got dragged to death for refusing to give up her handbag.

    Hope you guys are doing fine!

    • It could have been much worse. Just something for future visitors to watch out for. It won’t stop us from visiting the city again or exploring more in Malaysia.

  2. I was in a Barcelona mall on an escalator and the person behind me reached into my purse and stole my wallet. I didn’t even realize until I went to pay and the wallet was gone. All of my credit cards, all of my cash, just gone. Luckily my passport was in the room. I had my atm card in the room as well so I went to the bank to get cash and the machine ate my card! The girl working at the hostel called the bank and they said they don’t return foreign atm cards. Wtf. I had to call my parents and have them send $400 through Western union.

    • That sounds terrible! We heard Barcelona was really bad, luckily we had no incidents there. Thank god our parents are there to come to the rescue! Safe travels going forward.

  3. I had my backpack rifled through as I was sat on a bus from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. Thankfully… I keep nothing important in there, so they only made out with a few bucks in random currency, two $1 sunglasses, a half empty bottle of sunblock, and a few other small weird things. Quite the disappointment to the thief I’m sure… Otherwise nearly three year of traveling and nothing else stolen.

    What kind of purse were you wearing? I ONLY wear a purse that goes across my body. NEVER anything just my shoulder…. You should think about switching purses. Good luck getting everything replaced, be careful! 🙂

  4. what a TERRIBLE thing to have to deal with, but yes you are totally right, at least everything was replaceable. When stuff like that happens all my thoughts of peaceful living go out the window and I just want to beat the bloody shit out of the guy. I think with the iPhone you might be able to turn it into a paperweight and deactivate completely.

  5. My husband had an empty plastic water bottle stolen out of his hand in India.We were walking through Varanassi and just couldn’t believe, he’s a fairly big guy…it made us laugh but I can only imagine how bad I would feel if it was something of value…one reason I never travel with valuables…or best I can avoid it! Just wondering if the iCloud would have helped you access the video you had on your phone?

    • No way! So basically be super extra very very careful there! I have a Samsung and I had that phone for only a month, parents brought it in December….not sure if anything went to the dropbox ever… Going to set the new one up to auto do that more often…stupid me!

  6. Same thing happened to me our second week on the road in Khon Kaen, Thailand. I was sitting outside a restaurant when two guys on a motorbike grabbed my wristlet right out from under me, jumped on a motorbike and were gone before I could even process it. We watched it back on the security cameras and they had been scouting me out for a good 10-15 minutes. Such an awful feeling! Luckily I had my phone in my hand (thanks to Candy Crush) and no credit cards or passport with me so it could have been much worse. So sorry to hear that happened to you as well 🙁 But like you said, its good that you weren’t hurt and no violence involved.

    • So sorry same thing happened to you! Where you alone? I think he was scouting me out too. I was outside alone standing in the same spot for about 10-15 mins…..stupid me! Losing a phone is a HUGE headache!!! Glad you were ok too!

      • Yep I was sitting outside alone out by the road while my boyfriend was inside. I was playing on my phone with my back to the road completely oblivious! Not my smartest move. We had it all on the security cameras but unfortunately they were smart enough to remove the license plate :/ We have it on our youtube if you want to check it out.


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