x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Brothel gang 'attacked police with swords'

An armed gang attacked police who had raided a brothel, leaving one officer lying in a pool of blood, a court was told yesterday.

DUBAI // An armed gang attacked police who had raided a brothel, leaving one officer lying in a pool of blood, a court was told yesterday. Eight men appeared at the Dubai Criminal Courts of First Instance yesterday on a string of charges including prostitution, human trafficking, assaulting police officers and destroying a police car. The defendants - three Emiratis, two Indians, two Bangladeshis and a 45-year-old stateless person - were also charged with operating a brothel, resisting arrest, threatening a police officer and theft.

It was alleged that two of the Emiratis, AA and MM, an Indian defendant, FS, and a Bangladeshi, JH, operated the brothel. A third Emirati, MJ, was also alleged to have been involved. A further suspect is still at large. The defendants were arrested after one of the women they forced into prostitution contacted the police, court officials said. The Nepalese woman, 27, told prosecutors she had been forced to have sex with up to 25 men a day.

"I arrived from Nepal to work as a maid and was met by [the suspect still at large]. I was beaten up and forced to sleep with 25 men a day every day. So I called a friend from one of my customers' mobiles and asked for help." After her friend contacted police, officers raided a building in the Hamriya district where police said they found the alleged operation spread across two houses. The Nepalese woman told the court that while she was being taken to safety, a gang armed with knives and swords arrived and attacked the officers.

"When the men appeared and started fighting, I ran away and hid at a hospital which was nearby until police found me," she said. According to a Dubai Police officer, a complaint was filed by the Nepalese consulate regarding a Nepalese woman who had been held and forced into prostitution. The officer said that on February 26 he went to the location with an official from the consulate. "We found a man at the door letting people in - we took him for questioning and he confessed to us about the brothel and the Nepalese woman," the officer told the court.

The man signed a search warrant and the officer called in reinforcements and they entered the house. "When we raided the house we found three men inside; we arrested them and freed the women," he said. A few minutes later, the court heard, a red pick-up truck arrived carrying five armed, masked men, who attacked the officers with swords and knives. The officer was hit on the back of the head with a sharp object and fell to the floor.

"Someone said, 'Let's kill him so CID will know not to mess with our neighbourhood,' but another man pushed him back," the officer told prosecutors. He said the Nepalese consulate official escaped and called an ambulance. Another officer said that after he had led the Nepalese woman and three others to safety out of the back of the building, he returned to find the injured policeman lying in a pool of blood at the front door.

The defendants are also alleged to have destroyed one police vehicle and smashed the windows of another. After the gang members were restrained and arrested by additional officers, an accounts ledger was recovered showing outgoings and income, prosecution records claim. The trial was adjourned until December 20 for the presentation of witness testimonies and to hear defence statements. amustafa@thenational.ae