Going to Johor Bahru (JB) this weekend to stock up on groceries and eat some good seafood? Be careful you don't get tricked into a car accident, chased down an expressway and potentially robbed, like Coconuts Singapore reader 'Mr. R'.
Read about his harrowing experience on Sept. 9:
I'd like to share the experience I had with my family when we were last in JB for a shopping trip.
My stepfather, mother, wife and myself, arrived at Aeon Bukit Indah at about 3pm. I parked my red Hyundai Getz at their open-air carpark and went into the mall. At about 8:30pm, we returned to the car.
I reversed slowly after checking that the road was clear through the rear view mirrors and signalling my intentions. Suddenly, a black Mercedes with the registration number BKA1666 rushed into the back of my car, hitting it. The vehicle then moved to the front of my car and stopped. Everyone in my family alighted to inspect the damage. My car had only suffered slight scratches on the bumper and there were no dents visible. But to my astonishment, the damage on the old black Mercedes was bad — it had multiple deep dents and even scratches from his bumper past the solid metal body right to the back of the car. I immediately became suspicious — his damage did not tally with mine at all.
Photo: Damage on Mr. R's Hyundai Getz compared to that of the black Mercedes
The young Malay driver — about 21 years of age — said he was trying to avoid another Singapore car that had suddenly zoomed to his front, which was why he'd swerved the Mercedes towards our vehicle. He also said his 'brother', who was with him, was busy talking on the phone to get help for the car. His brother looked to be only about eight years old. (We found out later that the boy was actually part of a gang, and they were planning how best to rob us! Also, the car did not belong to either of them, it had a Chinese owner.)
They asked us to follow them to a police station to file a report and we agreed, but as we were running empty, we asked to stop at a nearby petrol kiosk first. We finally left the Aeon carpark slightly after 9pm, but then our ticket exit time had expired and we couldn't come out at the gantry.
Out of nowhere, three overtly friendly ah bengs came to help us exit the gantry. They eventually removed the bar so we could drive out, but before we did, one of them reminded to wait for the car behind me.
How did he know about the accident?
I didn't think too much of it, but whilst waiting for the Mercedes to leave the carpark I noticed a white car in the area. I later found out the white car carried the three 'helpful strangers'.
After pumping petrol, I followed the Mercedes away from Bukit Indah and onto the highway towards Gelang Patah. I signalled for him to stop at the road shoulder because I knew there was a police station in Bukit Indah itself. To my amazement, an additional two cars, the earlier white car with the three ah bengs and a red Kancil, stopped with him.
At least four people exited their vehicles and headed towards my car. I tried to explain to them that I wanted to go to a police station nearby, but they didn't like the idea. Fearing for my family's safety, I drove towards the Second Link. They gave chase.
What happened next was the most disturbing driving experience of my life. Halfway towards the Second Link, the Mercedes came up beside me (I was driving at the right lane at around 110km/h) and signalled for me to stop. I told them I wanted to make the report at the Second Link instead, but the driver disagreed, eventually overtaking me. He started to brake for us to stop, but I swerved to the left. He did the same and I ended up sandwiched between him and the white car, which had come up to our right. We were forced to a stop at the road shoulder and two men rushed toward our car, one of them an ah beng called Alan. They looked really aggressive. I felt I had to get out of the situation, so I reversed the car towards the on-coming traffic behind us, constantly sounding the horn.
Photo: White car that carried the three ah bengs
The Mercedes pursued us as we reversed a few hundred metres surrounded by buses and trucks. I eventually found an opening and zoomed ahead past the Mercedes, but ah beng 'Alan' was in the middle of the highway screaming and spreading his hands trying to block our way. He pointed at me with his left hand and his right hand was in a sling bag as if reaching for something. I didn't wait to see what it was — I swerved to my right to avoid hitting him and drove all the way to the Second Link.
When we reached, I used my Touch 'n Go at the toll booth and found us stuck in a long jam towards immigration. By this time my wife had gotten on the phone with the Malaysian police. All of a sudden, the white car stopped behind us and ah beng 'Alan' rushed towards the front passenger seat and banged violently on the window.
Photo: 'Alan' banged violently on my car window
My father was upset and got out of the car to confront him. Here, 'Alan' declared he and his group were in a gang and told us not to mess with them because we were in JB now and not Singapore. Eventually, all of us — the three ah bengs and my family members — were out of our cars. Ah beng 'Jeffrey' didn't let me back in my car at first, but when we agreed to have the Malay driver from the Mercedes sit with us while we approached immigration, he relented.
Photo: 'Jeffrey' blocking door of driver's seat so I couldn't get in
Finally, we made contact with a police officer at immigration. He escorted us to Gelang Patah to make an official report. We thought things would work better in our favour, but they didn't.
We reached the Gelang Patah police station just after 11pm. The traffic officer there told us they had closed their system and we would have to wait until after midnight to make the report. Midnight came, and we all attempted to file our personal account, but to my disappointment, the officer refused to state in the report that the Mercedes driver had swerved in our direction to avoid hitting another vehicle. He also refused to include other details, such as my signalling to go out when the road was clear, and how the serious damage on the Mercedes did not match my own car's.
As if the situation wasn't bad enough, I got escorted into a private room, where another officer tried to summon me for MYR300 because I had apparently reversed into the Mercedes and caused the accident! He was not even at the scene to witness this, but I ended up with the blame. I had even recorded the Malay driver's confession to his mistake, but the officer did not want to listen. I refused to sign the summon papers, so he asked me to settle it in court by December. For some reason he knew that the Mercedes had suffered serious damages from another accident because he said he would only charge me for the minor damages, like the scratches on the side doors.
It's obvious the Malaysian car was trying to get free repairs out of me, which was why they rammed into the car. I'm still in shock from the fact that even the authorities expected us to shoulder the blame. We could've been robbed considering we'd been surrounded by three cars and about seven men in total. The entire thing was a narrow escape.
Luckily, the incident ended there. We were escorted to Tuas at about 1:10am and got home after 2am.
The next day, we filed a police report in Singapore, but the police officer told us it was of no use to the investigation as it had happened in Malaysia. We'll be heading back there soon to make another police report."
What do you think of Mr. R's experience? Have you encountered the same?
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