Gushan Precinct of the Kaohsiung City Government Police Bureau, Taiwan. Photo: Google Maps

A 44-year-old Taiwanese man who was a repeat offender with a long rap sheet of robberies and burglaries was arrested by Kaohsiung police only two hours after he robbed a 36-year-old Indonesian tourist of her handbag at a local night market in the early hours of Tuesday.

At 12:30 am on February 26, Indonesian tourist Nurhayati was eating alone at a seafood stall at the Liuhe Night Market and was robbed of her blue handbag which she placed on the table, the Taiwan Times reported.

The suspect, who was later identified as Chen Ming-fa, fled with the woman’s bag, which reportedly contained NT$5,000 in cash, 300,000 rupiah in cash, a mobile phone and important personal documents including her passport. The man fled on a black motorcycle and headed west along Liuhe Second Road.

People at the scene reported the robbery on behalf of the tourist. Before the night market robbery, Kaohsiung police also received a report of a bag snatch in Gushan district, which was also allegedly done by a thief on a motorcycle.

A special unit was quickly formed with officers tracing the whereabouts of the suspect by going through the neighborhood’s security camera footage. With the victim’s bag being found on Zililu Bridge in Sanmin district, forensic personnel were then dispatched to the scene to gather evidence. The handbag was missing NT$2,000 with the rest remained intact.

Officers arrested Chen, who was leaving a supermarket near his home on Zhongan Road in Zuoying district with strong liquor and food. He had NT$106 in cash on him. He admitted the two robberies, adding that he was extremely short of money.

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