x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Chinese hotel worker ‘mistaken for prostitute after hugging friend’

The woman's lawyer said she was at a birthday party with friends when a CID officer, on the look out for street prostitutes, arrested her and another Chinese woman.

ABU DHABI // A Chinese woman who hugged a male friend in a public park was falsely arrested for prostitution, the Appeals Court has heard.

Lawyer Faayza Moussa said the woman, who worked at the Emirates Palace hotel, held a birthday party in the park with some colleagues – a Chinese woman and three Nepalese men.

After receiving a birthday present, the woman hugged one of the men in gratitude.

“Naturally, after her colleague gave her a gift she thanked him and hugged him. When CID officers saw this they exaggerated it,” said Ms Moussa.

A police officer on the lookout for street prostitutes saw the hug and arrested both Chinese women, who were convicted of prostitution at the Criminal Court and sentenced to jail and deportation.

But at Monday’s hearing the lawyer emphasised their good character.

“They have a clean, decent record and are even virgins, which shows their conservative backgrounds,” said Ms Moussa.

“The two women were students at the most prestigious university that teaches hospitality and tourism in China. They come from well-known, prestigious families and were sent on a scholarship to Las Vegas due to their high grades and food discipline.”

Ms Moussa said the women were not given a translator at the police station. The case was adjourned.

hdajani@thenational.ae