x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Police blackmailed men into handing over cash, court told

Two police officers are accused of using their power to fleece labourers.

DUBAI // Two police officers ordered two labourers to hand over their money and phones under threat of jail and deportation, a court heard yesterday.

The two traffic officers, 28-year-old Warrant Officer SA and Corporal MS, 24, are accused of stealing Dh1,100 in cash and phone credit worth Dh431.

Only MS appeared before Judge El Saeed Bargouth at the Criminal Court of First Instance yesterday.

The two officers stopped two Bangladeshi labourers, SZ and MN, near Al Khail Road in Dubai in December, prosecutors say.

"SA was blocking our way and told us he was a policeman," SZ, a 32-year-old builder, said. "He showed his ID and then pulled me to an unmarked 4X4 car and forced us to sit on the back seat.

"MS was sitting in the passenger seat. They asked for our IDs and mobile phones. After we gave them four mobile phones, I saw them transferring phone credit to other numbers."

MS and SA drove to Al Quoz industrial area and stopped in an empty lot, where they forced SZ and MN to give up their wallets.

"They told us they would put us in jail and send us home if we did not comply, and we were scared," he said. "We gave our wallets and were surprised after they took out the money and returned the wallets and the phones.

"Before we left my friend told them he was a poor man and didn't have enough for food and they asked him again if he wanted to go to jail and then be deported. He got quiet and we left."

MN called Dubai Police after the robbery.

A Bur Dubai police major told prosecutors that after the labourers filed a complaint and provided the vehicle's licence plate number, investigators recognised it as an undercover police vehicle.

"The defendants were on duty when I called them asking them to come to the police station," the officer said. "They immediately confessed when they were faced with the accusation and gave me the money back.

"They confessed that they transferred the phone credit to SA's relative and they admitted committing such crimes six times before in 2010."

Prosecution records showed a list from Etisalat confirming the phone credit transfer from the victims' phones.

The next hearing will be at the end of the month. MS and SA are free on bail.