A 60-year-old Australian travel agent has been stabbed to death and another woman hurt in a bag-snatch on the island of Phuket in Thailand.
The pair were part of a group of 10 travel agents visiting Phuket on a familiarisation trip to inspect the five-star Katathani Beach Resort.
It is understood the trip was organised by Asia Escape Holidays.
Michelle Elizabeth Smith, who worked as a travel agent at RAC Travel in the Perth suburb of Joondalup, died in front of her Phuket hotel after being stabbed in the heart.
According to reports from Phuket, the women were walking near their hotel complex in Kata Noi Bay, on Phuket's west coast, about 10.30pm yesterday 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.
A spokeswoman for Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs said Thai police had launched an investigation into the woman's death.
The woman, also from Perth, who survived the attack with a cut arm 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 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 agent who survived the attack was reported to be Tammee Lynn, 42, who works at an Attadale travel agency in Perth.
Thursday, June 21, 2012