When a Singaporean woman stopped her car by the roadside to buy fruits in Johor Bahru, her car, along with her younger sister and two children, went missing while she was gone. They would only be released a harrowing three hours later.
According to a report in The Straits Times, Madam Rita Zahara, 37, was on the way back to Singapore after visiting her eldest sister in Kempas, which is about 40 minutes' drive from the immigration checkpoint at Woodlands.
At 12.45am, she parked along a busy road that was 40m from some fruit stalls, but she chose to park at the dim area as she did not want to obstruct traffic. Her younger sister, Rita Zuhaida, 25, maid, and two children, 13 and 11, were waiting in the car for her with the doors locked.
However, while she was enroute to buy rambutans and mangosteens from the stalls, two men showed up at the car. They demanded that the car doors be opened, and they started smashing the window. They held a knife to Ms Zuhaida's neck and started driving.
When Madam Zahara gave her sister a call, one of the kidnappers answered. She was told to meet them in 30 minutes at a bus stop near the Jusco shopping mall in Tebrau City with all her money.
However, she bought time for herself, calling the men every 10 minutes to make sure her family was fine and to ask for more time. In the meantime, she also notified her elder sister and the authorities in both Johor Bahru and Singapore.
Fortunately at 4am, the kidnappers decided to give up and left their hostages by the roadside near a town called Ulu Tiram. Madam Zahara's family, finally free of their kidnappers, broke down for awhile before gathering their strength and seeking help.
The kidnappers made off with their Nissan Sunny, cash and other belongings, which amounted to about $78,000.