KOTA KINABALU, Malaysia - An eight-year-old boy was blissfully unaware of the terror ride he was subjected to when his mother's car was carjacked minutes after she went to buy bread outside his school in Kota Kinabalu.
The Primary 2 pupil slept through the 6km journey after the suspects drove from his school to Asia City in town before abandoning the car.
The 42-year-old mother, identified only as Chung, had parked her car outside the school compound at about 6am on Monday.
She left her son sleeping on the back seat with the engine running, The Star reported.
She then walked to a van, parked within the school's parking area, to buy bread.
But when she turned around a few minutes later, her car and son were missing.
The boy realised he was a victim of carjacking only after a passer-by spotted the car at about 7.30am and alerted the police.
The police were already on the case as the mother had reported the theft of her Toyota Vios with her son inside within 10 minutes of the incident.
Said the boy's father, Mr Robert Chiang: "I do not know who did this, my family and I do not have any enemies. I suspect it could be the work of small-time car thieves."
He said their Samsung mobile phone worth about RM1,000 (S$390), bank books and a purse with RM400 inside were missing from the vehicle, Sabah newspaper Daily Express reported.
Mr Chiang said he immediately alerted his friend, Reserve Police Acting Commandant Paul Lajumin, when he got the call from his wife.
He said: "I sent him a message via WhatsApp, alerting him that my son was asleep in the vehicle described."
ASP Lajumin then went to the nearest police station for more information.
The message soon went viral, after concerned residents began circulating the message to friends and relatives.
Kota Kinabalu deputy police chief Superintendent M. Chandra, who was at the scene, told The Star: "It is lucky the boy slept through the ordeal, it could have been traumatic for him."
He said the police have yet to establish if there were more than one person involved in the incident.
Supt Chandra said they are checking the closed-circuit television footages near the area where the car was found.
This incident comes just a few days after three men held up parents at knifepoint inside a school in Johor Baru before robbing them.
They took away valuables, including jewellery, worth about RM15,000.
It is believed to be the first armed robbery to take place within a school in Malaysia, The Star reported.
The authorities have now directed all 1,176 schools in Johor to beef up security measures.
This article was published on April 9 in The New Paper.
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