Women reminds others to stay vigilant at JB mall
In Malaysia, it’s typically safe for women to shop alone at malls, as there are security guards on patrol and ladies-only parking spots found near entrances at most malls. But it doesn’t mean that there are no instances where women feel unsafe while out shopping by themselves.
Over the past week, several women have taken to Facebook to share similar unsettling incidences they encountered on different days at Paradigm Mall in Johor Bahru. According to their posts, they were followed by 2 men at the JB mall in each instance, and they are sharing their stories as a reminder to other women to stay vigilant when they head out.
Woman followed at mall by 2 loitering men
A netizen who goes by the name of Rachel Hiew on Facebook took to her page to share her experience on 26th February 2021. In her post, which is in Chinese, she wrote that she was leaving Paradigm Mall in JB after visiting a client when she saw 2 men loitering nearby, behaving suspiciously.
Image adapted from: Google Maps
She said that they attempted to follow her to her parked car, but when she went to pay her parking fee, they were deterred for a while when they saw that there were many cars driving around in that area. Later, when she approached her car and saw that she was still being followed, she decided to approach the driver of a car which had just parked nearby.
Deciding that it was best to play safe, she went back into the mall and told a staff at the reception counter that she was being followed, and that she needed someone to accompany her to her car. The helpful staff escorted her to her car, and when she was on her way out, she saw one of the men sticking around and pretending to pay for his parking ticket at the ticket machine.
She also added that she was sharing her story to remind women to be aware of their surroundings when they are out. If they see anything suspicious, they should approach a passer-by for help, or drive straight to the police station. She also added that because of the Movement Control Order (MCO), many people have lost their jobs and income, and that scams and robberies might be more prevalent because of this.
She later shared her post to the Facebook group, JB Tracer, and it has since gone viral, with over 4,000 shares at the time of writing. Several other women also came forth in the Facebook group, saying that they encountered similar incidents of being followed that made them feel unsafe while shopping recently at the same mall.
2 women also share similar stories of being followed at mall
One of the women who came out to share her story is a netizen who goes by the name of Hari Sryn on Facebook. She shared in a post that she was shopping at Village Grocer, a grocery store in Paradigm Mall JB when she saw 2 men behaving suspiciously, following her and her mum while they were moving from aisle to aisle.
Image credit: Google Maps
She added that the men were mostly talking to each other, and not looking at the shelves of food. Wanting to confirm her suspicions, she even pretended to move down to another aisle, but found one of the men popping his head around the corner, as if to check on their whereabouts.
When she opted to immediately check out her purchases, she saw the 2 men starting a conversation with another man nearby, whom she alleged had been “pretending to look at stuff too”. She even shared a photo she had taken of the men who were allegedly following her.
She admitted that she would have given them the benefit of the doubt, had they not been behaving so suspiciously. So she wanted to remind everyone to be more cautious and aware of their surroundings. She also shared in the comments in her own post that she had contacted Paradigm Mall JB to relate her experience, hoping that they will strengthen their security to ensure the safety of their customers.
Following these 2 accounts, a third netizen Suri Hatimu also came out to comment on an admin’s related post on JB Tracer, saying that she encountered a similar experience while shopping at the mall with her kids.
She first sensed that she was being followed by a young man after she withdrew money from an ATM. He was seen using his phone outside several shops she dropped by in the mall. He followed her diligently throughout her time there, all the way to the car park. Desperate to outrun him, she even led him on a wild goose chase up and down the parking levels.
She was unsuccessful in her attempt, as he appeared again as she neared her car. By a stroke of good fortune, another shopper was waiting near her car for a parking space.
A reminder to women to stay vigilant while shopping alone
Even with precautionary measures such as the engagement of security staff, we should remain aware of our surroundings. And these women’s stories remind us to stay vigilant while shopping alone, and that quick thinking by walking to a crowded area, or approaching staff at the mall or passers-by for help when we feel that we are being followed, are just some ways we can avoid unfortunate incidents from happening to us.
We also hope that malls that receive such reports can step up security to ensure the safety of their patrons.
Update: Paradigm Mall has since made a statement on their Facebook page to share their security measures, and to reassure shoppers that their safety is of utmost importance. Read more here.
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Cover image adapted from: Google maps