Man arrested again 4 months after release for pickpocketing foreign tourists

Police have detained a man on charges of stealing wallets from foreign tourists on the subway in Seoul, just four months after he was released from prison for the same offense, officials said Friday. The man in his 50s was formally arrested last month on charges of pickpocketing two Chinese tourists as they exited a subway train, snatching about 600,000 won (US$438) on two separate occasions, according to the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency. The suspect, who has 19 criminal records, including 12 theft charges, confessed to the police that he committed the crime to cover his living expenses and that all the stolen money had been spent. He had been released in November after serving a 20-month prison sentence for the same charges, according to the officials. The police suspect that the man targeted female passengers wearing backpacks or handbags during the evening rush hour, particularly foreigners who may face difficulty reporting the theft. In March, a similar case was reported involving a man, also in his 50s, who was detained for stealing a wallet containing 100,000 won from a victim's bag on a subway. The man allegedly committed the theft just three days after being released from prison and had 10 criminal records for similar misdemeanors. The police advised passengers to carry their bags in front of them, rather than sideways or on their backs, and to report any theft immediately to the police. Source: Yonhap News Agency