A YOUNG woman spoke yesterday of the terrifying moment when she was attacked by a knife-wielding stranger after she stopped to give him directions.
The 20-year-old polytechnic student, who wanted to be known only as Natalie, screamed as she was slashed on the chest, arms, abdomen and thigh during the frenzied assault. One of the wounds needed 11 stitches.
The attack happened after the stranger approached her as she was walking to her boyfriend's home in Ang Mo Kio at 9.20pm on Thursday.
"He seemed really lost and didn't know how to get to Buangkok Crescent, so I decided to help him out," she told The Straits Times.
Her kindness did not pay off. The moment she took out her iPhone to show him the way, he started to eye it jealously.
She said he looked around to check whether the coast was clear before grabbing her handset.
"Instinctively, I just held on to it," she added. "I couldn't believe this was happening to me."
The attacker tried dragging her phone - and her along with it - towards his nearby motorcycle.
When he realised she was not going to let go, he pulled out what looked like a kitchen knife and started slashing wildly.
As Natalie screamed for help, he landed five cuts, the longest of which was on her arm.
Fortunately, several passers-by stopped to help. One grabbed the attacker's motorbike keys, while others blocked his escape and helped wrap Natalie's wounds.
Nurse Iqbal Masrawi, 28, who confronted the attacker, said: "He seemed to have surrendered and wasn't violent any more."
A 28-year-old man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of snatch theft and causing hurt.
The police recovered a phone believed to be the one targeted by the attacker.
Natalie was taken to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital and discharged the following morning.
"I'm still shaken by the suddenness of the attack," she said. "I'm going to be more careful when I head out at night in future."