The Johor Baru petrol station where a driver died after he was attacked by four men on Sunday night is popular with Singaporeans who frequent a hypermarket located diagonally opposite it.
A video that went viral on social media on Sunday night showed the final moments of the victim's life before he was stabbed and then run over twice by four assailants in a white BMW.
Some motorists who spoke to The Straits Times at the Shell station in Jalan Sri Pelangi yesterday said they had heard about the incident but were not dissuaded from making the trip across the Causeway.
During the few hours that ST was there, many cars bearing Singapore licence plates stopped to fill up their tanks. About half of the dozen pumps were used by cars from Singapore. Almost all the cars in the car wash were also from Singapore.
Mr Bryan Ong, 30, a Singaporean who is in sales, goes to JB once every two months to run errands. He said he has heard of car thefts and murders, so he tries to leave before dark to minimise the chances of being a target.
Mr Anthony Low, 45, said he believes the murder had to do with gang-related issues and was not a robbery gone wrong.
"I don't think I'm a target. But... the video shows that things can go downhill very quickly."
Property agent Aloysius Lim, 41, who was filling up his tank, said he found out about the attack yesterday morning.
"To be honest, I was more afraid of the jam," he said.
Staff at the petrol station said they were not allowed to talk about the attack. Car washers said it had taken place at a time when most of the staff were at evening prayers.
A car washer, who was on duty on Sunday, was just metres away from the attack but did not hear anything because he was behind a wall.
"The water was on full blast so I didn't hear much. When I found out, the man was already dead," said the man, who spoke in Malay but did not want to give his name.
According to Shin Min Daily News, police have set up roadblocks in areas such as the north of Johor and Iskandar Puteri in an effort to nab the attackers, who are at large.
Other places also popular with Singaporeans - KSL Mall, Taman Sentosa and Leisure Mall - were not affected by the roadblocks.
Still, there were some who would rather be safe than sorry.
Mr Tan Lay Seng, 64, decided to postpone his weekly trip to Leisure Mall after the attack.
Said the retiree: "I get very nervous when I go into Johor to run my errands, and Sunday's incident worries me further. I go in alone so I tend to be more cautious. My safety is more important than the few dollars I save from the groceries."
Recent violent crimes in Johor
Two men in their 30s were injured after a man fired seven shots at them while they were in a coffee shop at Pekan Bukit Gambir, Tangkak. The two men were having drinks with a group of friends at 4 am when they were shot at close range. The suspect fled the scene on a motorcycle. Five men were subsequently arrested in what was believed to be a drugs-related case.
Three suspected leaders of an armed robbery gang which had terrorised Johor for a decade were killed in a shootout with the police in Muar. A police car had tailed a silver BMW 3-series driven by the trio and tried to get the suspects’ vehicle to stop. In the ensuing gun battle between police and the suspects, the three men were killed. Police recovered a revolver, a 12-bore pump gun and a machete from the car.
Three men believed to be planning to rob people withdrawing cash from ATMs in Permas Jaya, Johor Bahru were shot dead by police after a high-speed car chase in which gunfire was exchanged. Two pistols were found in the suspects’ car, which had earlier been reported stolen.
A 44-year-old Singaporean chef armed with a machete was allegedly beaten up by three men with baseball bats in Johor Baru, after he tried to recover a RM500 (S$161) debt from one of them. The chef said he only intended to scare the men with his machete but was set upon by the three men instead. Mr Fong Teck Keong required 30 stitches for his head wound.
A businessman was gunned down at a carpark in a shopping mall in Taman Pelangi, Johor Baru as he was placing groceries in the boot of his car. Mr T. Magendran, 35, was shot dead with a single shot at close range. He was reported to have owned two convenience stores and a cafe.
A businessman was shot three times in the chest outside a restaurant in Jalan Trus, Johor Baru on July 28. The 44-year-old victim was attacked shortly after midnight by the pillion rider of a motorcycle that had slowed down. He survived the attack, which police said could have been prompted by business rivalry.
On July 15, a Malaysian lorry driver who worked in Singapore was shot dead when he got home to his flat in Skudai. Mr K. Kirubanandan, 41 was shot five times by an assailant who had been waiting nearby in a four-wheel-drive vehicle.
Sources: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK, BERNAMA