Scottish expat Lydia Riach critical in Bangkok after bag-snatch (gallery)

Scottish expat Lydia Riach critical in Bangkok after bag-snatch (gallery)

Lydia Riach, a middle-aged Scottish woman, is fighting for her life in a Bangkok hospital, the victim of a bag-snatch theft that went horribly wrong.

Lydia, from Inverness, Scotland, was walking with her husband, Douglas Riach down a well trafficked laneway in central Bangkok on Saturday night between Soi Sukhumvit 20 and Soi Sukhumvit 22 when two men on a motorbike drove passed and stole her handbag.

According to Douglas, Lydia had the bag around her neck as well as over her shoulder and the force of the theft sent her spinning into the roadway fracturing her skull in multiple places.

Doctors at Bangkok Police Hospital performed emergency brain surgery on Lydia on Saturday night following the attack, but have told Douglas that his wife is unlikely to awaken from the coma she is currently in.

The top of Lydia Riach’s head indicates the extent of her injuries
The top of Lydia Riach’s head indicates the extent of her injuries John Le Fevre

The doctors have said her skull was fractured externally in two places as well as internally. She was bleeding from the ears and by the time we got to the hospital there was fragments of bone coming out of her ears.

“She’s currently in a coma and we’ve been trying to talk to her but now she only has one eye open and is not responding to us or bright lights. The doctors have said they don’t think she will last a week though”, a distressed Douglas said.

Family relatives have started arriving in Bangkok, with Douglas’ brother flying in on Monday night and the couples two children expected on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Douglas has been resident in Bangkok for about two years where he works as a consultant for Infinity Financial Solutions, and Lydia joined him less than a year ago and has been actively involved in assisting underprivileged children since.

Friends at The Twenty Two Scottish Bar in Soi Sukhumvit 22 where the two were heading for a game of dominoes when the attack took place were shocked at news of the assault.

This is not a bad part of Bangkok, but there is no denying that these sorts of assaults are on the increase as the economic crisis continues to worsen, one patron said.


Bag snatch subsequent scenario in slide gallery



 Photos John Le Fevre



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John Le Fevre is an Australian national with more than 40 years experience as a journalist, photographer, videographer and editor.

He has spent extensive periods of time working in Africa and throughout Southeast Asia, with stints in the Middle East, the USA, and England.

He has covered major world events including Operation Desert Shield/ Storm, the 1991 pillage in Zaire, the 1994 Rwanda genocide, the 1999 East Timor independence unrest, the 2004 Asian tsunami, and the 2009, 2010, and 2014 Bangkok political protests.

In 1995 he was a Walkley Award finalist, the highest awards in Australian journalism, for his coverage of the 1995 Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) Ebola outbreak.

Most recently he was the Thailand editor/ managing editor of AEC News Today . Prior to that he was the deputy editor and Thailand and Greater Mekong Sub-region editor for The Establishment Post, predecessor of Asean Today.

In the mid-80s and early 90s he owned JLF Promotions, the largest above and below the line marketing and PR firm servicing the high-technology industry in Australia. It was sold in 1995.

Opinions and views expressed on this site are those of the author’s only. Read more at About me

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