Abduction survivor creates phone tool for personal safety

The Star, February 25, 2013

Although former Internet marketeer Chin Xin-Ci has recovered physically from her near abduction, the emotional scars are taking longer to heal.

Chin suffered cuts after a cleaver was pressed against her neck by a couple of would-be rapists who pounced on her at the car park of The Curve at around 5.20pm on May 27, 2012.

Two men forced her into the car but she escaped by running out of the vehicle as it was exiting the car park.

Chin has used the experience gained from the terrifying ordeal to good use by developing a smartphone application for personal safety.

Produced in partnership with an app developer, “Watch Over Me” allows users to register for an event.

If they don't “check-in” within a certain time period, a message will be sent out to emergency contact numbers while the camera and voice recorder will be activated automatically and stored in servers.

“With a lot of the other personal safety mobile apps, you'd have to reach for the phone, unlock it and hit the panic button.

“Watch Over Me' also has a GPS tracking system that allows others to determine your location.

“If I had been abducted on that day, no one would know that I had gone missing until the next day,” said Chin, adding that she had been working on the app since October to make it more user-friendly.

After the attack, Chin slipped into depression and went through therapy for four months.

She only started driving alone this year and still does not go to shopping malls alone.

“At first I felt like a zombie.

“There was a lot of fear and anger from having suddenly lost my sense of security,” said Chin.

She added that the attack had made her even more paranoid.

Chin uses the app all the time, together with the 40,000 other users who have downloaded “Watch Over Me”.

“I hope more Malaysian women will use these types of applications.

“If something bad happens to you, at least people will know where you are and some evidence would be captured through the voice recorder and camera,” she said.

There are also other similar safety apps in the market.