Thursday, March 14, 2013

Malaysia: Update--Abduction, Robbery and Rape of US Citizen in Kuala Lumpur

As a follow-up to my posting of yesterday (March 13) entitled "Malaysia: US Woman, 24, Abducted by "Rogue" Cabbie, Robbed and Gang-Raped By Three Assailants in Sungai Pelek, Sepang," Malaysian police have mounted a massive manhunt to arrest the accomplices of a suspect who was arrested in the the abduction and rape of an American woman, 24, after she hailed a taxi here on the street on Monday (March 11). 

According to police, the victim, boarded a taxi at the Curve Shopping Mall in Mutiara Damansara. Reportedly, at the time she got into the taxi, there were two men inside--the driver and a passenger. Please see my list of taxi cautions in yesterday's posting. 

Subsequently, they drove the woman to a secluded area in Sepang where they robbed and raped her. After the assault, she was taken to Sungai Pelek, Sepang, and confined at an undisclosed location. 

On Tuesday night, the woman managed to escape, and went to the Sepang police headquarters and lodged a report. 

The suspect is expected to be remanded today under Section 376 of the Penal Code for rape to facilitate investigations. 

No less than 15 extortion and kidnapping cases have been reported in the city, with all victims being women traveling alone. 

Although four members of the gang have been arrested, two members are still at large and continuing to actively be committing crimes. 

Police reported that another duo struck again on Tuesday (March 12), when they robbed a woman in her 30s who had flagged down a taxi in Pantai Hillpark. 

Both suspects were in the taxi at the time and threatened to harm her physically if she did not withdraw money from her ATM account.

Coincidentally, a police patrol car spotted the taxi, which bore the registration plates police were on the lookout for. A two kilometer chase ensued. The suspects drove into an office building in Bangsar where they abandoned the vehicle and their potential victim and fled on foot. Investigations later showed that the taxi, fitted with false registration plates, was reported stolen in Petaling Jaya on March 5. 

The assailants would then force the victim to call relatives or friends and demand a ransom for her release. One victim was released after a relative paid a RM40,000 ransom. 

According to The New Straits Times, Selangor police CID (Criminal Investigations Division) chief SAC Mohd Adnan Abdullah said today (March 14) that police have obtained a nine-day remand order so that they can prepare their case for presentation to the court. 

The suspect, a 47-year-old truck driver has a criminal history for incidents of theft and was tested positive for dug use. 

Police have also determined that the American victim was not a tourist, but was teaching English as a second language in the Kuala Lumpur area. 

COMMENT: Given the fact that a number of suspects are reportedly involved in this bogus taxi scheme, solo travelers, particularly women, are urged to carry cell phones and report the taxi's tag number to a friend BEFORE they get into the taxi, just to be safe. 

CID Chief Mohd Adnan also said the woman was raped by one of the four men, but not by all of them. 

After recording the victim's statement, investigators determined that the woman had hailed a taxi at Mutiara Damansara to return to her house three kilometers (1.8 miles) away in Damansara Perdana at about 2000 hours on Monday. 

Yet, after a short distance into the journey, the cabbie picked up yet another man. He then told the victim that his taxi was running out of fuel and he was contacting his friend to send her home. 

Minutes later, a van with two men inside pulled over and the unsuspecting victim got into the van.  She was then held at knife-point and robbed of her valuables, including RM300 (US$96.44) and her cell phone. 

With the bogus taxi driver, the victim was taken in the van to a house in Sungai Pelek, Sepang, where she was raped by one of the men. 

The young woman was subsequently held in the house before she was released by the men the next day. 

On Wednesday at 0500 hours, a CID team traced the van driver and took him into custody at Jalan Kelang Lama. The woman suffered minor injuries to her hands and legs as a result of being tied up with rope. 

This report will be updated as new information becomes available.