Thief steals car before his eyes

Thief steals car before his eyes

He was with his 1½-year-old toddler in the rented multi-purpose vehicle in Johor when two men hijacked it.

Singaporean T. H. Tan, 33, and his son leapt off the vehicle just as it started to move.

"I was left standing barefoot in the carpark," he told The New Paper.

The incident happened around 6pm on Nov 23, when the family of eight were on their way back from a holiday in Genting.

"We had rented the Malaysian-registered (Hyundai Starex) MPV and a driver for about $700. We were on our way from Malacca to Johor Baru when we decided to make a pit stop at Yong Peng," said Mr Tan, who works in the IT sector.

Everyone except he and his son got out of the car to buy snacks at a supermarket.

"I wasn't feeling well, so I decided to stay in the car with my son," he added.

The driver had left the aircon on for them and the engine running before going off with the rest.

A few minutes later, Mr Tan noticed two men get out of a white Honda City parked behind the MPV and approach from either side of the vehicle. As they were approaching, the white car moved to block the front of the MPV.

"One of the men opened the driver's door and hopped in. The other slid open the door to the passenger's side," said Mr Tan said, adding that he did not have time to reach over and lock the doors.

"When I realised what was happening, I had to react fast or they would have driven off with me and the baby in the car.

"I quickly slid open the door to my right and jumped out with my baby. I think it was mere seconds before they drove off, leaving me in the dust, barefoot and standing in the carpark."

Taken along with the car were Mr Tan's iPad, laptop, wallet, seven suitcases and passports belonging to him, his wife and his mother-in-law.

Mrs Tan, a Singapore permanent resident from China, said the other family members had their travel documents with them.

"Because my husband was staying in the car, my mother and I decided to leave our documents with him for safekeeping," the 28-year-old housewife said in Mandarin.

After the hijackers drove off, Mr Tan ran into the supermarket and shouted for help.

"Someone called the police who arrived quite quickly," he said.

CCTV CAMERA

"I was also told that a closed-circuit television camera outside the supermarket had captured the whole incident.

"The video was given to the police."

Mrs Tan said her mother had initially planned to stay in the vehicle but decided to alight at the last minute.

"Good thing she did," she explained.

"She sat behind my husband during the trip and he had to move his seat to let her out.

"Can you imagine having to do that in seconds during the hijacking? I still turn cold at the thought of that."

Mr Tan is particularly worried about his private details and his company's information in the iPad and laptop.

"We had to change the locks to my home," he said. "But what (can I do) about my car?"

Mr Tan, his wife and mother-in-law spent the next few days running around to get travel documents from their respective countries' representatives in Malaysia.

"My mother-in-law was visiting from China and it was the first time we took her to Malaysia," said Mr Tan.

"We went to the Chinese embassy in Kuala Lumpur to get her temporary travel documents.

"I also had to go the Singapore High Commission to report my documents stolen.

"The other family members gave us whatever cash they had on them before returning to Singapore, but it was difficult for us to run around with limited cash.

"By the time we got things sorted and came home, we had less than RM100 (S$38) on us."

But Mrs Tan was glad no one was hurt in the ordeal.

"Belongings can be replaced but if I were to have lost my husband and baby, it would have been disastrous," she said.


This article was first published on Feb 14, 2015.
Get The New Paper for more stories.

Purchase this article for republication.

BRANDINSIDER

SPONSORED

Most Read

Your daily good stuff - AsiaOne stories delivered straight to your inbox
By signing up, you agree to our Privacy policy and Terms and Conditions.