Along with an accomplice, he snatched the chain from a patient’s attendant; when caught by public, he swallowed the ornament

Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (GH) woke up to a chain-snatching incident on Thursday.

However, the man who had snatched the chain from a patient’s attendant swallowed it while being nabbed by the public, and has been admitted at the hospital.

Hospital authorities said two men, later identified by the police as Kamalakannan (28), of Triplicane, and Syed Basha (20), of Ice House, had snatched the 1.5-sovereign gold chain from Dhanalakshmi (27) of St. Thomas Mount. She had admitted her father, Kondiah, who is suffering from paralysis, on the first floor of Tower Block-2.

The chain broke in half. The men tried to flee as the woman raised an alarm.

“An assistant worker in the office of the Resident Medical Officer tried to nab the duo but was roughed up. He tried to retaliate when a crowd gathered and overpowered the two men. However, one of them managed to escape and was nabbed later,” an officer said.

Kamalakannan, who was nabbed, swallowed the portion of the chain as the public caught and handed him to the police.

He was admitted at the hospital. A CT scan showed that the chain was in his abdomen. It was later removed through an endoscopy procedure, he added.

Kamalakannan and Syed were arrested by the GH police. Investigations revealed that Kamalakannan is a known offender involved in over six chain-snatching incidents and was recently released from prison, police sources said.

Hospital staff said this was the third such incident in the last week. However, the involvement of the duo in the previous incidents could be ascertained only during the police inquiry, the officer said.

It is suspected that Kamalakannan was earlier employed by a contract agency involved in shifting patients from the wards for diagnostic procedures.

Following this incident, GH authorities have tightened security across the hospital.

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