Singapore Family Kidnapped in JB, Now Free

Excerpt via NST 2 July 2012:

Singapore family returns home safely after kidnapping in Johor

By Stacey Chia

A Singaporean family is now back home safely after a kidnapping incident in Johor early on Sunday morning.

Ms Rita Zahara, 37, her sister, two children and maid were travelling back home after a family reunion at her eldest sister’s house near Larkin in Johor.

Before heading back to Singapore, slightly after midnight, Ms Rita Zahara, stopped about 40m away from some fruit stalls to buy fruits. The stalls were about 3km away from the Woodlands checkpoint. Her sister, children and maid remained in the car with the doors locked.

According to Ms Rita Zahara, she parked her car further away from the stalls, which were quite dark, as she did not want to obstruct traffic. Almost immediately, two men armed with a gun and a knife demanded that Ms Rita Zahara’s family open the door. They then drove off.

Excerpt from The Star 3 July 2012:

Hunt for man in kidnap bid

JOHOR BARU: Police are looking for a man involved in the attempted kidnapping of a Singaporean family early Sunday morning.

Johor CID chief Senior Asst Comm Datuk Amer Awal said the suspect, believed to be armed, had driven off with the family’s Nissan Sunny after hijacking the car while the driver was buying fruits along Jalan Susur Larkin at around 12.45am on July 1.

Rita Zahara, 37, a former television journalist in Singapore, got down from the vehicle, leaving her 19-year-old sister, her two children aged 11 and six and her maid in the car.

Moments later, the kidnapper knocked on the window.

When one of the passengers unlocked the vehicle, the man jumped into the driver’s seat, threatened them with an object that looked like a pistol and drove off with them inside.

When Rita realised that her car was missing, she called her sister’s mobile phone but it was the kidnapper who answered, demanding for money in return for her family.

The negotiations went on for a few hours and the suspect finally released the group and drove off with the car and valuables worth a total of S$80,000 (RM200,000).

SAC Amer said the passengers, who were left at a residential area in Ulu Tiram, were helped by some residents there.

“None of them were hurt during the incident and the family has returned to Singapore,” he said, adding that police were on the lookout for the suspect and the stolen car with a Singaporean registration plate.

“We urge anyone with information to contact the Johor police hotline at 07-221 2999,” he said.

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