Singapore car stolen in JB used by drug dealers
S'pore car swiped outside JB mall ends up getting used by M'sian drug runners
First, his car was stolen at a busy Johor Baru shopping mall.
Then came another unpleasant surprise: His white Toyota Wish was used by Malaysian drug runners, JB police told him.
Although Mr Yunos Salajudin is pleased that he got back the car he lost in August, he remains haunted by the incident and has become fearful of driving to Malaysia.
"I never thought something like this would happen," said Mr Yunos, who goes to JB about once a month.
"Now, when I drive up to visit my family, I go straight to their place. I no longer hang around, not even in shopping centres."
Mr Yunos' car is one of at least four Singapore-registered cars stolen in JB last August.
The 44-year-old owner of photography studio Theme Photography told The New Paper that he and his wife drove to and parked at Giant Tampoi Mallfor grocery shopping at about 9pm on Aug 24.
About half an hour later, they emerged from the mall carrying bags of groceries and found another car parked in their lot.
Their Toyota Wish, which he had bought first-hand in 2008, cost $70,000.
"I was very sure where I had parked. But my car was no longer there. I soon realised my car had been stolen.
"My mind went blank and I started trembling. My whole body became weak," he said.
He and his wife rushed to the security counter and informed the staff, who helped him call the police.
That was when a guard told Mr Yunos that someone had earlier dropped off his and his wife's passports, which they had left in the car.
"The security guard said the person had found the passports lying on the floor. Maybe the car thief was only after my car," he said.
"We were so shocked that we had no mood to carry the groceries back. We just gave them to strangers."
The JB police took Mr Yunos and his wife to two police stations to make the reports.
"Luckily, I have family members living in JB and they gave me a lift back to Singapore," he said.
He also made a report with the Singapore police after returning home.
Despite not hearing from both the JB and Singapore police, Mr Yunos refused to give up hope.
In the meantime, he used his motorbike to go to work.
For family outings, Mr Yunos, his wife and five children, who are aged between 10 and 21, would take public transport.
"Thankfully, our public transport is comfortable and convenient. Even though I needed the car for my rather large family, it wasn't that bad."
GAVE UP HOPE
In October, he began to accept the possibility that his car was gone for good.
He said his insurance company was finalising his claim when the JB police phoned him some time that month.
The officer told Mr Yunos that his Toyota Wish, which had been fitted with a Malaysian licence plate, was seized during a drug bust.
"I couldn't believe it. The first thing I was worried about was whether my car was damaged.
"It turned out that the Malaysian licence plate was fake. So the JB police called our Singapore police to check. They traced it to me using the car's chassis number," he said.
Mr Yunos said that the JB police did not return the car immediately as investigations were ongoing.
It was only two months later, on New Year's Eve, that he was finally reunited with his car, which he said was in "surprisingly good condition".
After thoroughly checking it to ensure there was no trace of drugs left in his car, Mr Yunos said he drove home a relieved man.
"My prayers were answered. Thank God because there have been so many stories about cars stolen and never found. It was like a New Year present."
Mr Yunos still does not know how his car was stolen.
But whenever he drives to Malaysia now, he takes extra precautions. He avoids parking at public places and he has installed extra security devices in his car.
"I have no choice as I still have to drive to visit my family there once a month. But I'm more careful now.
"I thought I was safe parking at a public place, but I wasn't."
I couldn't believe it. The first thing I was worried about was whether my car was damaged.
- Mr Yunos Salajudin (above, with his wife Mazlinda Nor Osman), on getting the news that his car had been found
HOW TO AVOID CAR THEFT
1 Engrave the vehicle registration number on the windscreens.
2 Install an alarm system.
3 Lock all doors and wind up all windows.
4 Do not leave the keys in the ignition switch.
5 Park in well-lit areas.
6 Install an anti-theft alarm system, locks for the steering wheel, clutch, brake and gear, if necessary
Source: Singapore Police Force website
3 S'pore cars stolen in August
In August last year, three Singapore-registered cars were stolen in less than a week. It is not known if any of these cars were recovered.
Engineer Arunachalam Sathiamoorthy, 48, was on his way back to Singapore after an overnight trip to Desaru with his wife and daughter when he lost his way.
At around 3.30pm, he stopped at Perling Mall for a quick bite as his daughter was hungry. He returned less than an hour later to find his Honda Stream missing.
An iPhone 6 Plus, three credit cards and two CashCards were among the valuables in his vehicle.
Ten seconds was all it took for thieves to make away with Mr Nolan Khoo's Honda Civic outside popular shopping mall Tebrau City at about 4.20pm.
The 32-year-old assistant manager at a logistics firm posted about the incident on Facebook.
He also uploaded a video of the theft, which was captured on a surveillance camera from a nearby store. It showed a man unlocking the driver-side door of the car and driving it away.
At around 8am, retiree Yeoh Seng Hock, 75, parked his car among other Singapore-registered vehicles about 20m away from a popular eatery in Taman Sri Tebrau.
When he returned 15 minutes later, his second-hand Honda Fit was gone.