Lydia Gomez removing shards of glass from her car.

New Straits Times reporter LYDIA GOMEZ had a harrowing time in the early hours of Saturday when she stopped at a traffic light and was set upon by a group of Mat Rempit

I NEVER thought it could happen to me, despite having written numerous stories on Mat Rempit rampage.

The many police patrol cars and roadblocks in the Bangsar area, especially on weekends, made me think I was safe.

Friday night was meant to be a prelude to my birthday on Wednesday. I spent it with friends from Penang.

After the party, I headed home from Bangsar to Bukit Jelutong, Shah Alam. It was 1am and I anticipated police checks along Jalan Maarof, but there were no roadblocks or patrol cars in sight.
After dropping off a friend, I reached the T-junction of Lorong Maarof and Jalan Maarof, just before the Bang- sar Shopping Centre. I stopped as the lights were red.

My Perodua Kancil was the only car there. That’s when at least 15 people on motorbikes rode past me. Some were performing "wheelies" and pull- ing other Mat Rempit stunts.

Some were shirtless, some wearing full-face helmets and some were shouting and screaming at their own stunts.

I thought I was safe, as I was minding my own business, waiting for the light to turn green.

Seconds later, I felt my car shake and I saw one of them, wearing a white-collared T-shirt, blue jeans and visor, banging on my car door.

He tried to open it but failed as I had locked the doors. I was stunned but decided to wait for the light to change. Suddenly a hard object hit my passenger window.

There was a crack. Something hard crashed into the window again, shattering it.

I was paralysed with fear. It all happened within seconds. Then I noticed one of them drawing out a dagger about five inches long from the pocket of his denims.

This was when I knew they were after my handbag, which was on the passenger seat. The traffic light was red, but I stepped on the accelerator.

One of the Mat Rempit cha- sed me. I sped off, beating the lights as I feared for my life.

I was not taking any chances. At the same time, I remembered the victims who had been killed in accidents as they sped away from assailants.

Fortunately, the motorcyclist gave up. I pulled up before the Damansara toll booth. My hands were shaking and I was in a state of panic. I called my friends but no one picked up the phone.

I drove home, snuggled into bed and hoped that when I woke up the next morning my car window would be intact and it would only be a story I had written.

But it was not to be, I picked up the broken pieces of glass from the car and then mustered enough courage to step out of my house to make a police report.

The police top brass say all the time that you could report an incident at any police station. Well, they have yet to inform the Bukit Jelutong police station about this.

The policemen shooed me to the Brickfields police headquarters "as the incident happened in their jurisdiction".

Despite the trauma, I drove to Brickfields and lodged a report at 11pm. The investigating officer told me that hours after what happened to me, a girl was mugged outside her house in the area.

Fortunately, I was not injured and did not suffer a major loss. But I realise how vulnerable we are to the Mat Rempit menace.
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