Two African women were sentenced to nine months in prison yesterday after they stole a wallet from a policeman pretending to be a drunk Wan Chai bar customer. Judith Karimi and Josephine Nkatha Kenyan John, both from Kenya, were arrested in a police crackdown on pickpockets in the bar areas of Wan Chai and Lan Kwai Fong. Each pleaded guilty in Eastern Court to one count of theft. The court heard that the policeman, who had arrived in the area about an hour and a half earlier, was approached by John outside a bar on Luard Road at about 5am. She chatted with him until they were joined half an hour later by Karimi who introduced herself as 'Maria' and said she was from Ethiopia. They sat on a step outside another bar where the policeman put his head in his hands, pretending to be drunk, and John massaged his back while talking to Karimi in a presumably African language. The officer then felt fingers in his trouser pocket take hold of the wallet, containing HK$640, and saw Karimi pass it to John. Karimi shouted across the street to two other African women. John was holding a number of banknotes, trying to pass them to the women. The policeman then declared his identity and arrested them. In mitigation, Karimi, 31, told Deputy Magistrate Kennis Tai Chiu-ki that she was involved in the case only because John asked her to help. She agreed 'because the intention was to help [John] get medical fees for her son'. Lawyer Alan Lo said John, 35, was a single mother taking care of a 12-year-old son and a four-year-old daughter. In the first half of the year, police dealt with 12 pickpocket cases around Lockhart Road.