x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Chilli powder thrown in man's face in robbery bid

Police investigate an attempted robbery in which attackers threw chilli powder in a shop owner's face and then beat him.

AJMAN // Police are investigating an attempted robbery in which attackers threw chilli powder in a shop owner's face and then beat him, officials said. Rayoroth Basheer, 32, said he was temporarily blinded in the attack, which happened at 1am on Saturday after he closed his shop. "I was walking back home through a dark and congested street," Mr Basheer said. "One man from the gang was hiding and waiting for me. Once I got close, he threw chilli powder into my eyes."

Mr Basheer said the man used more than half a kilogram of the powder. "He continued rubbing the chilli powder on my eyes," he said. "First, I did not know what was going on. Soon I was completely blinded and could not see anything." Three others then joined the first attacker and started beating Mr Basheer. He was pushed down and hit with a rod. "They tried to snatch the handbag I was carrying, which had money in it," he said. "I could not see anything since my eyes were burning, but I managed to throw the bag away."

The bag fell close to a nearby restaurant, in which people were working. Fearing someone would come to Mr Basheer's aid, his attackers fled and Mr Basheer sought refuge in the restaurant, police said. Mr Basheer has been working and living in the area for 12 years. "This is the first time that I felt unsafe in this area," he said. Ajman Police, who said they knew of no previous cases of chilli powder being used as a weapon, were investigating.

pmenon@thenational.ae