I almost got my mobile phone stolen in 2014 in Phnom Penh (quoted from http://christianpfc.blogspot.com/2014/07/cambodia-day-1-bangkok-to-phom-penh.html):
During an extensive exploratory first walk in Phnom Penh, I almost got my mobile phone robbed. I was standing at a street corner, waiting for green light and looking at my phone (map, waiting for GPS signal) when a motorbike drove past slowly and the second person tried to grab my phone. As usually (unless I operate it with a thumb!), I had it more than 2/3 covered with my hand, so he just didn’t have enough area to grab it (or he was a beginner, or missed the best moment). I immediately realized what was going on, and they were driving slowly, so even if he had grabbed it I would have been able to make a quick step to grab his arm. That would have ended messy or even bloody (the question is: whose blood?).
And in Jan 2016 I overheard other passengers on the bus (US-Americans, Phnom Penh to Saigon) talking about a theft out of pocket of trousers.
There are more sophisticated ways in Brasil, operating in couple as well:
And less sophisticated ways in Brasil:
Shocking what violence over a mobile phone. And the disproportion of gain and loss (I had few cases of Thai boys stealing money from me, I was 300 THB poorer and he was 300 THB richer, but with mobile phone it's more like 10:1, and loss of data as well.)
But a recent (4jan2017) incident in Thailand where a person was murdered over a botched mobile phone robbery tops it all. Thai friend pointed out that this happened around 10 pm; usually such things happen past midnight.
The event in Thai news:
in Sukhontha Sawat 27 Alley สุคนธสวัสดิ์ ซอย 27
(has changed since google street view, I might go some day)
Here the video (WARNING! Graphic violence!) From a physiologial point of view, it is remarkable that the robbee sustained several stabbings in his abdomen without effect, until stabbing in his neck finally brought him down.
I would have thought it can't get worse than a person killed over a mobile phone, but I was wrong:
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