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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 22 November 2018

Bus driver set 13 cars on fire in revenge attack, court hears

Man targeted fellow driver after he claimed was costing him business by lowering fares

A man set 13 cars on fire after launching an arson attack on a fellow bus driver he claimed was costing him business by lowering his fares.

The 42-year-old Pakistani doused his rival's bus in petrol before using a lit cigarette to set it ablaze, Dubai Criminal Court heard.

The fire spread to a number of other vehicles in the car park outside of Dubai Outlet Mall.

The offender's own clothing was set on fire during the arson attack on May 12 - leaving him with burn marks which helped identify him as the culprit.

The defendant had ensured that nobody was aboard the bus when he torched it, court records stated.

Firefighters were alerted to the incident and managed to bring the blaze under control within 30 minutes.

Police criminal investigations officers checked CCTV footage and saw a man on fire running from near the burning vehicles.

“We saw him taking off his clothes and jumping into his coaster mini bus and driving off, but we got his plate number and tracked him down,” said an Emirati policeman.

The man was arrested shortly before fleeing the country by police, who found burn marks on his body resulting from the crime.

During questioning, the Pakistani defendant said he worked as a driver for a staff bus transporting mall employees, but had recently lost passengers to another driver offering lower fares.

“He said that he couldn’t keep up with the other driver who kept on lowering his fare and as a result cost him his passengers, therefore he decided to burn the driver’s bus in revenge,” said the policeman.

The Pakistani victim said he was having a lunch with a friend when he was told his bus had been set on fire.

“I didn’t know who was behind the fire or how it started and when police told me who did, I was surprised because what he said about me stealing his passengers is not true,” said the 24-year-old driver.

Records showed that the cars that were badly damaged - some of which are owned by companies - were a Hyundai Accord, Mitsubishi Lancer, Hyundai Tucson, Hyundai Sonata, Toyota Fortuner, Lexus, Hyundai Elantra, Chevrolet Corvette, two Toyota Prado cars, Nissan Tida, and a Peugeot.

The defendant admitted an arson charge at court.

A verdict is due to be passed down on October 29.