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Phuket Drama: Alisa Makarenko’s Brave Pursuit of Bag Snatcher and Roman Lazarev’s Unauthorized Driving Lessons Unfold

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The hustle and bustle of Phuket’s streets took an unexpected turn on Sunday night when a dramatic chase unfolded. A daring bag snatcher on a motorcycle made a quick grab for a woman’s handbag, and in a flash, the chase was on. It all started in the Muang district, where a Russian couple found themselves turned action heroes in an attempt to retrieve their stolen belongings.

Alisa Makarenko, recounting the hair-raising incident, explained to the tourist police how she was enjoying a ride as a pillion passenger on her friend’s motorcycle. They were cruising down Takua Pa Road in the tranquil tambon Talad Yai of Muang district around 8.40 pm when an opportunistic thief swooped in. Opting for the quick getaway, the thief seized her handbag from her lap with alarming precision.

The motorcyclist, sporting a rather memorable blue helmet, sped off into the Sunday night traffic. Without missing a beat, Alisa’s friend turned into an urban warrior, setting off in hot pursuit. The dynamic duo zigzagged through the congested streets, the motorcycle horn blaring like a battle cry, while Alisa documented the wild chase on her phone. Despite their best efforts, the nimble thief managed to vanish into the nightscape.

The stolen handbag, now lost somewhere in the maze of traffic, contained Alisa’s spectacles, a motorcycle license, four debit cards, a handy comb, and a power bank. However, the thief’s payday wasn’t quite as lucrative as one might think—with only 60 baht in cash hidden in the purse.

Tourist police were quick to step in, advising Alisa to freeze her debit cards, including three Russian ones, to prevent any further mishaps. For Alisa, the relief of not losing anything irreplaceable was tempered by the inconvenience and violation brought on by the brazen act.

The same night in Phuket, drama wasn’t confined to just one story. Over in the bustling market of Nam Kao in tambon Kathu of Kathu district, an entirely different escapade was taking place. Roman Lazarev, a 29-year-old Russian national, found himself on the wrong side of the law—not as a hardened criminal but as an enterprising, albeit illegal, motorcycle driving instructor.

Roman was apprehended while conducting motorcycle driving lessons in the busy parking lot of Nam Kao market. His teaching setup, complete with motorcycles and a labyrinth of traffic cones, was a familiar sight to local passersby. Offering his services to Russian-speaking learners, Roman charged 2,000 baht for a comprehensive three-day course, a price many found quite reasonable.

However, the police weren’t as impressed with Roman’s entrepreneurial spirit. They clamped down on his unauthorized operation, brought to their attention through Instagram advertisements promoting his classes. While his intentions might have been in the right place—helping fellow expats navigate Phuket’s sometimes chaotic roads—his lack of proper authorization landed him in hot water.

Phuket’s Sunday night, riddled with unexpected chaos and unexpected tales, highlighted how even in paradise, the unexpected can become reality. From Alisa’s heart-pounding chase after a bag snatcher to Roman’s entrepreneurial yet illegal driving school, the evening brimmed with stories deserving a place in the island’s colorful annals.

Despite the mishaps, the serene beauty of Phuket remains a draw for tourists and expatriates alike. Yet these incidents are a stark reminder to stay vigilant and on the right side of the law, whether you’re protecting your belongings or embarking on a new business venture.


  1. Anna Gonzales June 24, 2024

    I can’t believe Alisa chased the thief! That shows real courage but it’s also incredibly dangerous. What if she had gotten hurt?

    • Mike T June 24, 2024

      Absolutely. The chase could have ended tragically. It’s a handbag, not worth risking your life over.

      • Alisa Makarenko June 24, 2024

        I appreciate your concern, but in the heat of the moment, adrenaline takes over. I just wanted to get my stuff back.

      • AdventureJunkie22 June 24, 2024

        Sometimes you just gotta take risks! I’d have done the same.

  2. Sergey P. June 24, 2024

    Roman’s driving lessons were a great help for many expats here. The authorities should support such initiatives instead of shutting them down.

    • Linda M June 24, 2024

      Support illegal operations? That’s absurd. There are rules for a reason.

      • Patty Chang June 24, 2024

        Linda’s right. Without regulations, anyone could offer unsafe lessons.

    • ExpatsRule June 24, 2024

      The rules are too strict anyway. Roman was helping fellow expats, not hurting anyone.

  3. Joe K June 24, 2024

    This story reads like an action movie script. Phuket definitely has its share of drama.

    • Emily V June 24, 2024

      Life is stranger than fiction sometimes! Glad Alisa and her friend are safe.

    • JakeP June 24, 2024

      If only they’d caught the thief. Bet he’s telling his buddies about his ‘close call’.

  4. Roman Lazarev June 24, 2024

    For those concerned, I’m planning to get the proper permits and restart my driving school. Safety and legality are important to me as well.

    • Theresa77 June 24, 2024

      Good luck with that, Roman. It sounds like you’re trying to do the right thing.

    • Alex T. June 24, 2024

      Props for learning from this and trying to improve. Hope it works out.

  5. TommyBoy June 24, 2024

    Honestly, the thief only got 60 baht? Not worth the risk!

  6. Jeff B June 24, 2024

    This is why people should be extra careful with their belongings in tourist spots.

    • Sarah J. June 24, 2024

      Absolutely. It only takes a second for someone to swipe your bags or valuables.

  7. Cheddar June 24, 2024

    Phuket turning into the wild west, eh? Need better law enforcement there.

  8. Nancy D June 24, 2024

    Kudos to the tourist police for acting fast. This could’ve been way worse for Alisa.

    • Larry Davis June 24, 2024

      Yeah, but they should also focus on capturing the thief. It sounds like he got away scot-free.

  9. AnaMaria June 24, 2024

    Can’t imagine how terrifying it must have been for Alisa. Hope she’s okay despite the ordeal.

  10. Vladimir Petrov June 24, 2024

    These incidents are why people need more public education on safety. Had Roman’s school been legal, it might prevent such problems too.

  11. Gina L. June 24, 2024

    Roman should not have advertised publicly if his school was unauthorized. Plain and simple.

  12. BeFree88 June 24, 2024

    All this fuss over driving lessons. Who cares? As long as people learn to drive, that’s what matters.

  13. Explorer4Life June 24, 2024

    Seems like Phuket is the place for thrill-seekers now, from bag snatching to underground driving schools.

    • Dana June 24, 2024

      I think it’s more about adapting to chaotic environments. Like a real-life training ground.

  14. Chloe M. June 24, 2024

    I hope Alisa gets some justice. Losing personal items like that can be really upsetting.

    • LiamD June 24, 2024

      It’s not just about the items, it’s the violation of privacy that’s troubling.

  15. NinaP June 24, 2024

    Why wasn’t there better surveillance in that area? Alisa’s ordeal highlights a serious lapse in public safety.

  16. BikeLover101 June 24, 2024

    Roman’s driving school sounds like it was better than many official ones. The guy was just filling a need.

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