Let my misadventure be a warning to you when visiting Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The city is infested with petty crimes and safety is an illusion. I’ve visited KL many times and it’s one of my favourite place for a short holiday but during this trip, I get the feeling that people are out to rob foreigners all the time.
Tourist attraction operators charge foreigners more while locals get preferential rates, cab drivers persistently defy the rule to charge cab fares according to the meter and ask for exorbitant amounts, and the streets are breeding with snatch thieves. It’s daylight robbery on every level.
I never imagined I would encounter something like this but I was robbed of my HTC One X handphone which I got just slightly over a month ago. Here’s what happened…
My travel buddy, Ian, and I had dinner at the Cheras district and was by the roadside waiting for a cab to go to our next destination. He held on to my phone to figure out the address while I was a few steps ahead looking out for empty taxis. Out of nowhere, a bike with a driver and a rider appeared and snatched my phone from Ian.
I didn’t see it happen as Ian was behind me. According to him, the pillon rider, a fat Malay man stretched out his hand grabbed Ian’s hand before yanking the phone from him. I am just thankful my friend wasn’t hurt. Imagine if the man held on to his hand and dragged him along the road.
It was a harrowing experience. I couldn’t believe my ears when Ian related the snatch theft process. It being a new phone and losing my contacts notwithstanding, my heart aches for all those photos I’ve yet to extract to my computer. I lost quite a lot of photos taken during this trip. Bastards!
Without much that we can do, we flagged down a cab, told the driver our pedicament and asked him to send us to the nearest police station to make a report. I’m not sure if the driver didn’t know there was a police station in Cheras or that he wanted to earn more fare as he brought us to a station in the city centre. The ride was about 15 minutes. While making the report, the policeman told us there’s actually a police station in Cheras and we should’ve made the report there because even though we made the report at his station, he would still pass the case to the Cheras station to act upon. He said that the driver was just out to make a buck from us despite our misfortune.
If that was true, all I can say is I hope he can sleep well at night.
So I related the snatch-robbery on Facebook and to KL friends and a torrent of grievances about such crimes poured forth. A friend got his laptop snatched, another got his car broken into four times, yet another had his DSLR pulled off his shoulder, but the worst was the story of a lady who resisted the robbers from taking her bag and got her fingers slashed. She lost two of her digits in that incident.
After being victimised, we became very wary and jittery when we walked the streets of KL the next day. With the prevalence of petty crimes, KL has completely lost its appeal to me. Things used to be very affordable in the city and was a draw for me but that’s no longer true. Food was also no big deal now that prices have gone up and partying in KL is like watching grass grow. Topped off with this ugly robbery, I don’t think I would want to ever go back again.
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