KULAIJAYA, Malaysia - Fearful after being told that something bad will happen to her only child, a single mother was coaxed to take part in a cleansing ceremony, only to be scammed of RM26,000 (S$10,200) in cash and valuables in exchange for a bag of "auspicious items".
Tay Ah Cha, 58, discovered the bag was filled with ordinary table salt when she eventually opened it.
She was devastated over the loss of 20 years of hard work saving money by making pau and taking tailoring orders.
She recalled that two men and a woman, all in their 40s, approached her when she was heading to a market along Jalan Siantan 1 Indahpura here at around 7.30am last Thursday.
The woman tapped her on the shoulder and whispered that her son would die in a horrific car crash because evil spirits had been following her.
"I was stunned. One of the men approached me and claimed he was able to save my son's life if I took part in a cleansing ceremony and appease the spirits by giving cash," she said at a press conference organised by Senai assemblyman Wong Shu Qi here yesterday.
"I only had RM500 with me at the time. I followed their instructions to get more money for them.
"I went to the bank and took out all my savings as well as other valuables amounting to another RM10,000. I met them at a playground not far from my house," said Tay, adding that one of the suspects then instructed her to put the valuables in a black plastic bag.