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Malaysia | Bag snatch in PenangPersephone Barda | 25 May 2014

I heard this was common in Vietman but my friend was victim to a man on a scooter snatching her bag off her shoulder while we were on a tandem bike in Penang. If this does happen to you, try and remember the number plate / description of the person and bike if at all possible and head to a police station as soon as you can to obtain a police report. 

Obviously prevention is better than cure, so advice would be to use a money belt or bumbag if you have to take anything valuable with you. My friend had her passport in said snatched bag and this is really not a fun thing to try and replace.

If you lose your passport you will need to head to the country's capital and arrange an appointment at the British consulate (or whichever country your passport belongs to). You will be issued with an Emergency Travel Document (cost approx £100, which should be reclaimable on your insurance so keep all your receipts). Once you have your ETD, you will also need to make a trip to an immigration centre in order to receive a stamp to prove you entered the country legitimately. Bring anything that proves when you entered the country with you when you do this, such as your ticket (we have started photographing all of our tickets in case we lose them). My friend was charged a fee for overstaying her visa in Malaysia simply because she didn't have anything to prove that she hadn't.

 

The problem with ETD's is that some countries do not accept them, including Laos and Burma (you will need to look up each country individually to find out whether the countries you intend on traveling to do accept ETD's). Also, as I understand is accepted protocol with ETD's, the consulate in Kuala Lumpur insisted on having details of the exact dates that my friend would be crossing a border into a different country (maximum of 6, including your home country), and these are specified on the emergency document. Needless to say, this will eliminate the element of spontaneity from your travels. If you have dual citizenship, it might be worth considering having your other passport sent out to you, if it is practical to do so, (but obviously try to keep hold of the first one and leave it locked up somewhere safe if you can)!

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