A Sad Encounter Along N-S Expressway

I travel about once a week or so to my oil-palm plantation in Pagoh, Johore driving a 3-door 4WD Suzuki Vitara. I normally leave my house in PJ in the morning before 8am and arrive Pagoh in about 2 hours. After a night or two in the plantation I would leave Pagoh in the afternoon to reach home before dusk. This has been my travel routine for about four years.

About a year or so ago in 2004 (forgot about the date) in one of my normal journeys to Pagoh, while cruising along the southbound N-S Expressway after the Tangkak/Muar Exit, I overtook a Proton. Suddenly the driver of the car I overtook flashed the headlights repeatedly. I thought something was wrong with my vehicle and so I slowed down and stopped at the emergency lane to check. When I was stopping my vehicle, I could see from my rear-view mirror that the Proton behind me was stopping too. Before I alighted from my vehicle, I saw a slim Chinese lady in her late 40s coming out of her car and walked towards my vehicle. As I felt a bit suspicious I remained seated in my vehicle with the engine running and locked all the doors. When she came beside my vehicle I wound down slightly the side glass window to enable us to talk. She started the conversation in English and asked me whether I was a Chinese and whether I could converse in Hokkien. I replied in the affirmative and the conversation then proceeded in Hokkien. She spoke with a Penang accent indicating that she was from the north.

She told me that she came from JB in the morning but left her purse in the hotel after checking out. Realising it later she decided to return to the hotel to retrieve the purse. She said her car was low on petrol and also she needed some money to pay the toll. In the event that the purse was lost she needed more to return to her home in Kedah. I offered to call the hotel in JB to report her missing purse but she said she did not know the number. She asked me, quite pathetically, to let her have RM150.00 and said she would repay me after she returned home.

I was quite taken in by her story and handed the cash to her without further questioning. She then asked for my address and I gave her my calling card. I told her not to bother returning the money but would be happy to receive a thank-you card from her.

A couple of months later I received, through the post, an envelope with a small booklet on Buddhism in it. The sender was unknown but the post-mark indicated that it was from Kedah. Putting two and two together, I presumed that it was from the distressed lady whom I had given her RM150.00. I felt happy and thought that I had done a good deed!

On 19 May 2005, I left Pagoh for home earlier than usual because it was raining in my plantation. At about 3pm I stopped at Senawang Rest Stop for a short break to stretch my legs. As I was about to move on, a dark-coloured Proton suddenly stopped beside mine on the right and the driver sounded the horn a couple of times. I did not move my vehicle, as I wanted to know what was the matter. Quickly a woman came out of the Proton and came towards me. I immediately recognized her as the woman I gave RM150.00 to before. I thought that she had recognized my vehicle and wanted to return my money or to thank me again in person. I wound the glass window down and smiled as she stood beside my vehicle. I was surprised she asked me the same question the first time we met - whether I was a Chinese and could speak Hokkien.

She obviously did not recognize me and wanted to try her luck again on me. I quickly locked all the doors and wound up slightly the glass window of the door. But I was interested to know what trick she was going to play on me this time. She then asked me how to proceed to Ipoh without going through KL and getting out of the Expressway. I thought for a few seconds and told her to get off the N-S Expressway after Nilai and go by the KLIA Highway and follow the sign to Ipoh. It was a harmless question and I answered her the best I knew.

She then told me that she was on the way home to Kedah and had stopped earlier at the Pagoh Rest Stop to go to the loo. She left without locking her car and her purse was in it. She said when she came back to the car, she found her purse was ransacked but only her cash was missing. She then said that her petrol tank was empty and asked me to help her by giving her some cash to pay for her petrol and also her toll charges to Kedah. And she also said she had not had lunch yet. Wasn't that pitiful?

I did not say whether I would help her, but I told her that I had met her once before and had given her RM150. She immediately walked away to the loo without taking another look at me!

I noted down her car registration number (WGX 1323) and noticed that there was no one in her car. I drove round the car park once and after seeing no other suspicious character around, I resumed my journey home.

I knew I had been had and I felt sad not because of the money involved but because someone had to go all the way to con me, not once but trying again for a second time. How did I suddenly become so vulnerable to con woman? My trademarked gray hair? Or I was I so naive?

So watch out folks.


The story was published in Star Two under "Speaking up" on 31st May 2005.

Some comments I received from a few friends whom I've emailed to them the story earlier:

If I were that con woman, I would pick people who look kindly, and who is more likely to be sympathetic to my sob story.
So that only proves what we all know, that you are the kind and sympathetic type, always willing to help.
Please don't let this incident prevent you from helping others in the future.

--- from KC


Yes, I fully agree with KC's observations and while I appreciate your "warning to us"; I think you have done the right thing --- the first encounter and also at the second encounter!!! It's sad that the world has such people who thrives on people's kind heartedness. But I would just take that to be an experience BUT will not let that harden my responses to future situations -- just have to be more careful.

------From KP


You are definitely not vulnerable nor naïve; you are genuine to help without any expectation in return. You will be blessed with your kindness, in one way or another but maybe not on the expressway...

But be on your guard from now on against "charming"lady!

---- from Jayna

Maybe, you need a Nokia camera handphone to take a picture of the charming lady just to circulate to the public. Click here to check out the " must have" model from Nokia :-)

-----from Kenny

Note: Kenny was also conned and his "must have" camera handphone robbed in Klang.

nakedeyeview.com.my 2008