Snatch thefts are a rampant threat to Malaysian society. In January 2016, 365 cases were reported in the Dang Wangi district of Kuala Lumpur alone. That same year, snatch thefts increased 36% nationwide.
The most common targets of snatch thefts are women walking alone. Victims lose more than their possessions – they are often injured, or even killed as a result of the attacks. Yet, because the culprits strike fast and disappear on motorbikes, they are rarely caught.
Locally-grown sportswear brand Ash Be Nimble, which holds empowering women at its core, aims to change that with its latest collaboration with Ogilvy & Mather Malaysia.
The Handbag Dyetonator is the world’s first device designed to mark snatch thieves after they’ve committed a crime. Masked as an inconspicuous handbag accessory, it can be remotely detonated via an SMS from any phone. It then releases coloured dye and a smoke flare, marking the thief permanently and making it easy for police to spot and apprehend him.
“We’ve always believe in empowering women and going the extra mile. We hope that the Handbag Dyetonator will act as a deterrent to snatch thieves.” says Hui Mathews, founder of Ash Be Nimble.
However, despite the prevalence and severity of snatch thefts in Malaysia, there are currently no specific laws in place for those convicted of such crimes.
In the effort to further protect women, Ash Be Nimble has also partnered with the National Council of Women’s Organisations Malaysia (NCWO) on a petition to call for stricter laws on snatch thefts in order to further deter anyone from committing such a crime.