I just got a warning both from e-mail and from my parents about a modus operandi carried out by a couple of evildoers to victimize women passengers of taxi cabs.
The schtick is actually pretty simple. The perpatrators have a taxi cab that plies routes in Makati. They pick up lone female passengers who fit their target. Then, when they reach a secluded, dark spot, the driver will get out and open the trunk. At which point, the driver's accomplice will jump out and hold the passenger at knife-point.
Apparently, the two men responsible for these crimes- Arnold Apolonario (the driver) and Nick Simpao (the knife-man) have already been caught, but have gotten out of jail due to our LOVELY justice system. While the e-mail has suggested that Apolonario may have already slipped out to the States, this scheme may still be in use by other lawless bastards in Metro Manila.
The best people, especially women, can do is just stay vigilant. Try not to show off valuables like expensive cellphones and large amounts of money when in the street, or in the cab. Try to select cabs with well-known and respected company names, and always jot down the license plate and name of the cab (real cabs have red serial numbers on the license plate) or let your companions and friends do it for you. Always keep an eye on your cabbie, and eveything he does.
These really aren't foolproof defenses against such crimes- in the best case, if the holdup men are just after money and valuables, just give them up since NOTHING is worth your health and life. Keep a clear head, always say a prayer and keep your wits always about you. Survival is always top priority.
I'm a regular commuter, but luckily I'm male, so this M.O. might not necessarily be for me. But hold-ups are a constant threat, so all I can do is keep under the radar and avoid looking like a target (especially since I walk around with a laptop and cellphone all the time). Darn. What I would give for a real working Vanishing Ray. Sigh.