Parents, do remain alert while you and your children are outdoors or travelling abroad. A recent case of child kidnapping in Malaysia which nearly turned for the worst, highlights the importance of being alert and aware, always.
Potential Child Kidnapping in Malaysia: How It All Happened
Recently, Malaysian mum Nurul Suhada nearly had her 10-month-old son kidnapped in KL Sentral, Malaysia.
She details the horrifying experience in her Facebook post below, which gained over 53,000 shares within 24 hours of posting.
Last Wednesday (5th September), Ms Suhada was bidding her relatives good-bye in KL Sentral at roughly 2.30pm, accompanied with her 10-month-old son.
However, her trip shortly turned into a nightmare. Apparently, a woman claimed Nurul’s son to be hers – to the point of losing her temper and even chasing Ms Suhada!
Looking back, Ms Suhada thought the woman was a member of a kidnapping syndicate or suffering from mental health issues, and likely wanted to abduct her son.
“I have always read about other people who had the misfortune to meet these people and today, I was traumatised by someone who tried to kidnap my baby boy. After we sent my relative off, there was a woman following us from behind but we didn’t take notice until we had finished eating at the food court and made our way downstairs,” explains Ms Suhada.
The Woman Claimed Nurul’s Son Was Hers
Not long after, the woman who stalked them began screaming at Ms Suhada to halt. She then began to question Ms Suhada on a lot of things, such as her destination or whether her baby was really hers.
“I was not suspicious at first and told her that it was my son but then my cousin started to pull me away. When the woman heard that I answered her that it was my son, she started to rage,” recalls Ms Suhada.
The encounter then escalated into a chase. The woman pursued Ms Suhada’s family, who ran until they reached the MRT counter.
In a stroke of luck, a member of the auxiliary police was patrolling nearby. Ms Suhada and her family stopped and requested for help. They described the situation to him, but were cut off by the woman, who claimed that Ms Suhada’s baby was her lost son.
In response, Ms Suhada showed her son’s MyKid card to the police, proving her authenticity as his mother.
But then the other woman began shrieking at the family, convinced that the 10-month-old was her former son. She also interrogated the terrified mum, hurling questions about her little one and trying to disprove that she wasn’t his biological parent.
Escape – with the Help of the Auxiliary Police
The auxiliary police put effort to soother the woman’s anger, but to no avail. She was still shouting at the Suhadas, going so far as to fling her bag towards the police.
“Finally, more auxiliary police members arrived but they could not calm her down so they asked us to run. They formed a barricade to block her from chasing us and we quickly ran to the train counter to get our tickets and leave. She tried to chase us but could not do so and we were so relieved when the train left the station,” says Nurul.
The video below shows how the Auxiliary police managed to shield Ms Suhada before she left the train station.
At this point Ms Suhada was relieved that the woman was gone. Still, she was upset at the fact that people didn’t take the initiative to help her during the pursuit. Help only came when she met the auxiliary police.
A Lesson Learnt: Be Cautious of Stranger Danger, Urges Nurul
“Don’t allow unknown people to touch or hold your kids even when they are acting friendly, especially not if they want to carry your children. I can’t imagine what would have happened if she had managed to get ahold of my son,” warns Ms Suhada.
According to Sinar Harian, Nurul suspected such false claims about her child could be one strategy potential kidnappers might use.
She wants to alert parents about what she experienced. It was so scary that she continues to be traumatised by it even though the perpetrator has been put behind bars.
Tips to Protect Your Little One
Parents, there are a lot of ways to ensure that your child won’t face the risk of an abduction. Here are some tips to protect them:
1. Be sure that they’re never alone
It is important that your child is always with someone trust-worthy at all times. Never allow your kids to meet their friends at the park or end of the street alone. Apart from the possibility of your child being kidnapped, your child may even have a little tumble or fall and hurt themselves without anyone knowing. That is why it’s important to insist that your child is always in the company of someone reliable wherever they go!
2. Stranger danger
It is important to teach your kids never to interact with a stranger. Teach your kids that if they’re approached by a stranger, and they’re not comfortable, then there’s nothing wrong if they shout or yell. Children should do everything in their power to draw people towards them while they are in danger. Tell them to remember to Run, Yell, and Tell.
3. Bring along a photo of your kids
One good idea is to photograph your child before they leave the house. If your child does become lost, you can easily share photos of your child, including how they dressed during that day.
4. Always hold their hand
Toddlers and kids tend to roam a lot. Maybe try and fix a rule where children must always hold your hand unless you tell them not to. Do implement this rule in crowded areas like airports or amusement parks.
5. Monitor your children within your line of sight
Prevent them from roaming. It will also help if you choose brightly-coloured clothes for your children to wear so that they can be distinguished in crowded areas.
6. Help them become more confident
“The safest kids are the confident kids,” says Ernie Allen, head of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. His organisation provides a solution based on studying children successfully escaping abduction attempts. The kids did it by kicking and screaming, a reaction that children with reservations about themselves would probably not think of doing. Allen also mentions that this is the “same techniques you’d use to resist peer pressure over drugs or bullies or gangs”.
Other General Tips
In the event that your child does go missing, it will help to rally people nearby to shout what he looks like in order to locate him. Aside from this, there are also other ways to prevent kidnapping:
- Make sure they know important information such as your phone number, and your address.
- Tell them where they need to go should they get lost outside. And teach them about who they should approach in case of emergency.