Chili water sprayed on child and woman at mall carpark: Mall safety tips for parents
Have you ever thought about shopping mall carpark safety?
We love heading to malls for the food, shopping and fun they offer the whole family. But sometimes we do take mall safety for granted… but not in the way you think. We’re aware of escalator and elevator hazards, even kidnapping dangers inside malls. But, have you ever thought of safety outside the mall – specifically in mall carparks? A recent, disturbing incident in Malaysia opens our eyes to this, highlighting safety measures in shopping mall carparks that we should keep in mind.
A rather unusual robbery happened recently in the carpark of a Malaysian mall last Friday (14 Sept). A woman and her young young nephew were going into their car in a mall carpark when a would-be female thief hurled sizeable amounts of a burning solution made from chili at them.
The thief then tried to grab the woman’s handbag. Fortunately, she couldn’t escape in time. An auxiliary policeman nearby, who had seen the whole incident, managed to confront and arrest her before she left.
Not long after, the mall’s security staff arrived. A review of the carpark’s CCTV footage revealed yet another astonishing fact. Apparently, the same thief had also approached a pregnant woman in the mall, robbing her of her belongings.
Assistant Commissioner Mohamed Mokhsein Mohamed Zon, from the Cheras police, has confirmed that the Indonesian woman has been arrested and detained for two weeks under Malaysian Law.
The Good Samaritan Nearby and Her Facebook Post
The exact details of the incident were made public by Diana Abdullah, a passerby who managed to help the victims. Her Facebook post, which has become viral, is shown below.
According to Ms Abdullah, she was initially driving into the carpark when she noticed people in distress.
She found the victims, 44-year-old Sasha and her young nephew, both doused with liquid mixed with chili seeds.
The skin of both victims was bright red due to the burning effect of the chili solution, which had given them first degree burns.
Sasha then requested Diana to accompany her to the police station. Diana agreed willingly, but the police recommended Sasha to consult a doctor first before they filed a report.
She details what happened next in her facebook post:
“We then went back to the parking, and I helped her to clean her car seat. Sasha then went to HUKM [Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia] while I grab some food. Left AEON and rushed to HUKM to look for Sasha and passed some food to her nephew. She was still at the HUKM Emergency Unit waiting to see the Doctor. Her relatives were already there so I took my leave.”
We’ve also learnt that both Sasha and her nephew are on the mend.
Safety Measures in Shopping Mall Carparks We Can Learn from This Incident
We at theAsianparent commend Diana for helping Sasha and her nephew. This incident is shocking for a few reasons.
First, the thief was a woman. We too often assume those out to do harm to others are male. But this is not always the case. It is an eye-opener in the sense that regardless of gender, an evil person is evil, period.
Also, as parents, how many of us pay attention to potentially dangerous situations in malls and mall carparks? When you think about it, a mall carpark is the perfect place for crimes to take place.
You’ve usually got your hands full of shopping. Shuttling your kids to your vehicle may distract you. Loading shopping bags into your car may also be another source of distraction.
With this in mind, please remember these safety tips:
If your kids are with you in a mall carpark:
• Carry them or hold their hands when in the parking lot
It’s not just potential thieves you need to be wary of. Drivers oftentimes will not see small kids walking behind their car while they’re backing up or driving.
Carry your small children, or hold their hands, when in the parking lot, even if the car’s just a few steps or feet away. Keep your distance from parked cars, and look left and right before crossing to get to your car or to the mall.
• Do not leave your kids in the car with the key in ignition
We’ve all done this: We pop the kids in their car-seats, turn on the engine and AC, then go to the back of the car and start packing the bags of shopping in the boot. Never do this. It’s super easy for anyone to jump into your car and drive off in your car, with your kids.
Keep your kids with you as you load your car. If you have older children, instruct them to stand close to you. You can wear younger babies, and toddlers can be kept strapped in their strollers with the stroller wheel lock on. Once you’ve loaded your bags, help your kids into the car.
• Lock your doors as soon as you get in
How many times have you go into your car, and then automatically reached for your phone to browse through messages and other notifications? Don’t do this! If you must check your phone, ensure you lock your car doors first.
• Be aware of your surroundings
As you enter the mall carpark – especially at night or if it’s lonely – be very aware of your surroundings. Look behind and around you. Do you notice anyone or anything suspicious?
With kids, it’s also best to park your car close to the lift entrance or a security post. If you notice anything suspicious, do not hesitate to head back into the mall immediately, or alert a security guard.
Reference: New Straits Times