Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 16 September 2019

New online challenge can lead to three years in prison and fine in the UAE

Those who attempt the Vacuum Challenge could risk facing jail time or a hefty fine

Those who attempt the Vacuum Challenge in the UAE risk jail time or a hefty fine. 
Those who attempt the Vacuum Challenge in the UAE risk jail time or a hefty fine. 

After the KiKi challenge, and the ice bucket one, a new challenge has gone viral in many parts of the world, and may not take long before reaching the UAE.

The recently surfaced challenge called vacuum or bin bag challenge is different from the other ones as it’s more commonly practiced inside homes and mainly on children by their own parents or adult carers.

The new trend involves placing the entire body of a small sized person - mainly a child - inside a large plastic garbage bag leaving the head free with the tip of the bag wrapped around the neck.

As per article 69 of the law, parents or people who do it to kids may face up to three years in prison and a fine not less than Dh50,000 and not exceeding Dh300,000.

Yousef Al Bahar, criminal lawyer

A person would then suck the air out of the bag using a vacuum hose.

Despite seeming harmless and fun, but the practice could turn dangerous and result in injury or lack of oxygen.

Videos shared online show how the bag becomes skin tight after the air is sucked out, and it would look like a latex-suit encasing the body of the person stuck inside it, prohibiting them from being able to move any of their body parts and almost impossible to break free.

The dangers of doing this challenge alone doubles as the person could get stuck for hours and may risk health hazards while waiting for help.

Practicing this newly viral trend in the UAE may not be prohibited as per law but could earn those who do it a jail time or fine, said Yousef Al Bahar, a well-known criminal lawyer and head of Al Bahar and Associates Advocates.

He said that the UAE’s Child Protection Law imposes stiff penalties on any practice that may pose risk to the lives and safety of children by their own parents, family members or others who children have been left in their care.

“As per article 69 of the law, parents or people who do it to kids may face up to three years in prison and a fine not less than Dh50,000 and not exceeding Dh300,000,” said Al Bahar.

Al Bahar pointed out that unfortunately people tend to follow aimless and risky challenges they find online.

“If you see people jumping off a cliff online, would you also do it?” Al Bahar raised the question hoping that UAE’s people response would be negative.

Updated: June 6, 2019 12:07 PM

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