x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Man jailed for molesting children at Dubai Mall's Kidzania

A 29-year-old man tricked his way into the KidZania play area and molested two children is sentenced to six months in prison by the Dubai Criminal Court.

DUBAI // A 29-year-old man who tricked his way into the KidZania play area and molested two children was sentenced to six months in prison by the Dubai Criminal Court.

The Pakistani defendant, identified as MS, claimed to be a parent of a child and was allowed to enter by security guards at the Dubai Mall venue.

Once inside he approached a nine-year-old boy, grabbed his cheeks and tried to kiss him. The boy pushed away his hands and ran off. The man then approached another boy, a 12-year-old.

"He touched my neck and pulled my head towards him to kiss me," recalled the second boy. The child screamed for help and the mall's security guards apprehended the man before calling police.

Prosecutors said the incident took place on January 3 this year.

"We place the highest emphasis and priority on the safety and security of our young visitors," a spokesperson for KidZania said.

"We take the incident extremely seriously and reiterate that we do not tolerate any such acts."

The spokesperson said: "We will continue to be at the forefront in taking swift action and ensure that the highest safety standards are always upheld.

"In addition to extending all support during the investigation, we have also reviewed our security procedures to ensure the welfare and security of all our visitors."

MS denied molestation. "I did kiss him on the cheeks but I did so without any bad intentions," said the defendant. "I kissed him like one kisses a child."

He will be deported after completion of his jail term.

salamir@thenational.ae