Australian fatally stabbed and another wounded in Phuket bag snatch
Phuket Police are hunting two young men who stabbed and killed an Australian woman on Wednesday night during an attempted bag-snatch in Phuket.
Chalong Police told the Phuket Gazette today (Thurs) they had identified the men, aged 18 to 25, responsible for the attack. They expect to make quick arrests.
Michelle Smith, a travel agent from Perth, aged 60, was with a group of travel agents visiting Phuket to inspect the five-star Kata Thani hotel near Kata beach.
A mother of three, Smith was walking back to her hotel with a friend after dinner when the attack occurred, at about 10.30pm. Two men drove past the women twice before one of them tried to snatch Smith's bag, police said.
Tammee Lee Lynn, who suffered a slash wound to her right arm during the attack, told police Smith struggled to hold on to the bag - which prompted one of them to stab her in the chest. The knife allegedly struck her heart and lung. People rushed to her assistance but she died shortly after at the scene.
The two men fled on their motorcycle, empty-handed.
The drama in Phuket received widespread media coverage Down Under. The Australian newspaper said Smith is survived by three grown-up children - a son and two daughters - plus her husband of 35 years, Geoff, and her 90-year-old mother.
A veteran in the travel industry, she had won many awards and travelled widely. She was said to have loved camping and had even done a bungee jump at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.