Thieves drive off with S'porean's Merc at JB car wash By Zaihan Mohamed Yusof
THE Singaporean businessman's jaw dropped when he heard what the car wash worker told him.
"Your friend already collected your car," the worker told him in Malay.
The businessman was confused. How could that be?
The only friend he was with was another Singaporean who had been having supper with him after they had dropped off his luxury car at a car wash in Jalan Datuk Abdullah Tahir in Johor Baru (JB). The businessman, who wanted to be known only as Mr Neo, was furious.
He realised that someone had given his car key to a stranger, who had then made off with his car. Now his Mercedes Benz E200, which he had bought two years ago for $180,000, was gone.
Said Mr Neo, 34: "I was upset. How could he have passed the key to someone else other than me?"
The Singaporean driver declined to give his full name for fear of possible reprisals from car theft syndicates.
Apparently, an unidentified Chinese man had asked for the key to Mr Neo's car, a worker at the car wash had told him.
Thinking that he was Mr Neo's friend, the worker had given the man the key.
The incident prompted Mr Neo to contact citizen- journalism website Stomp.
Mr Neo told The New Paper on Sunday that he and his Singaporean friend were driving back from Malacca to Singapore after a business trip on 13 Dec.
The pair arrived in JB at about 11.30pm. Mr Neo then drove his brown Mercedes into one of the many car washes along Jalan Datuk Abdullah Tahir.
The road is in an area famous for its entertainment and late-night eateries.
On weekends, many Singaporeans can be seen at the stretch of 24-hour car wash joints, a 10-minute drive from the Causeway.
There are more than 10 car washes along Jalan Datuk Abdullah Tahir.
The one that Mr Neo pulled into was, however, a nameless establishment.
Only a small sign in Malay which said Cuci Kereta or car wash hung above the open-air business.
Mr Neo, who was visiting the car wash for the first time, said he did not think twice about leaving his car behind as there were other Singapore-registered cars in the queue.