x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Dh90,500 found on man who confessed to Ramadan begging in Dubai

Charged at the Misdemeanours Court, he admitted begging, but denied obtaining the Dh90,500 in this way.

DUBAI // A Ramadan beggar who asked market shoppers for money had more cash on him than the people he was pestering.

Police who arrested A?A, 58, from Iraq, found Dh90,500 in his pocket.

Market traders in Naif had complained he was pestering customers for money.

He admitted begging, but denied that was how he obtained the Dh90,500. “It’s my money which I brought with me from my country,” he told the Misdemeanours Court.

The beggar said he had visited Naif market after Al Asr prayers every day since his arrival in the UAE on a visit visa. Asked by prosecutors how he persuaded people to give him money, he said: “I would tell them I needed to pay fines for overstaying my visa because my return flight had been cancelled.”

He told the court he needed the money because he suffered from an eye problem and had numerous health complaints.

He was one of six people who pleaded guilty to begging during the holy month, though the other five were far less successful.

M?M, 63, from Pakistan, had Dh353 on him when he was arrested at Naif market, and brothers M?A?M, 23, and M?S?M, 24, from Pakistan, had Dh178 when they were arrested near a labour camp in Al Muhaisenah 2.

O?A, 30, from Bangladesh, had only Dh30 when she was arrested in Al Waheeda, and S?A, 26, from Pakistan, had no money at all when he was arrested at Dragon Mart in International City.

All six admitted charges of begging while in good health and able to work. They will be sentenced on August 18.

An increase in begging often occurs during Ramadan, when many professional beggars come to the country to take advantage of people’s charitable spirit.

“The number increases greatly during Ramadan and other religious occasions,” said a Misdemeanours Court judge.

“There is no specific nationality. I have seen Saudis, Jordanians, Iranians, Pakistanis, Indians and many others.”

salamir@thenational.ae