A 60-year-old Australian woman has been stabbed to death and another woman was hurt in a suspected bag-snatch gone wrong on the popular holiday island of Phuket in Thailand.
The women were walking near their hotel complex in Kata Noi Bay, on Phuket's west coast, last night when they were attacked by two men who approached them on a motorbike.
The men attempted to steal the women's handbags and lashed out with a knife when they could not grab the bags.
Ms Yone, a supervisor at the five-star Katathani Phuket Beach Resort where the women were staying, said this morning that one of the women was stabbed in the heart and died soon after.
The injured woman suffered a slash wound to her arm and was taken to hospital in Phuket.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said Thai police had launched an investigation into the woman's death.
"We are aware of the death of an Australian woman in Thailand and are providing consular assistance to her family and to the other woman involved in the incident," she said.
"It would not be appropriate to discuss the case further while a police investigation is in progress."
The dead woman was an experienced traveller who had spent a lot of time in south-east Asia.
The two women were part of a group of 10 travel agents from Perth who arrived in Thailand on Monday.
"They were attacked by the men on the street," Ms Yone said.
"One woman had a cut on her arm and she went to the hospital. She is already back from the hospital.
"She is OK. There is nothing to concern about her life situation.
"Unfortunately the situation with [the second woman], she got attacked right on her heart and she passed away."
The men escaped from the narrow street outside the hotel on a motorbike.
The woman told local media she and the victim had been hassled and pushed in the street by the men but did not realise they had been stabbed until the men had fled.
''We were walking single-file along the road, coming back from dinner. These guys had gone past a couple of times, and that started to bother us," the woman told tourism news website Phuket Wan.
''Then I heard a noise behind me and I turned to see what I thought was my friend being pushed in the chest. I tried to help her.
''The men rode off, empty-handed. We started walking again, and only then did we realise we'd both been slashed.''
The website also reports "grainy" security camera footage recorded the men but their motorbike number plate was indistinguishable.
Ms Yone said Phuket police and a representative from the Australian embassy visited the hotel last night and spoke to the surviving woman.
"We are waiting for the police report from the police now," she said.
The tour leader staying at the hotel declined to comment when contacted by The Age this morning.
The managing director of Asia Escape Holidays, which organised the trip, Mason Adams said the other agents in the group, who did not know each other prior, had rallied together overnight.
They were expected to stay until Saturday but were organising to come home.
"It's quite shocking, obviously," he said.
The injured woman used to be an employee with Mr Adams.
She received 14 stitches and was now with the rest of the group, he said.
"She's OK, but obviously shaken and very upset about the whole thing," he said.
"She was the one there so it was terrible."
- The Age
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