x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Dubai Police to launch five-star lock-up for luxury inmates

Police built a special, climate-controlled warehouse to store luxury cars they confiscated.

DUBAI // It is a garage for which any car fanatic would dearly love to have the keys.

Dubai Police are preparing to open a new warehouse for some of their most valuable confiscated items - luxury vehicles.

The storage space in Al Qusais formerly held spare parts and has room for about 45 cars, many of which will be sold because their owners have abandoned them or cannot afford to pay fines.

"The majority of luxurious cars are not claimed by their owners and we end up selling them," said Lt Col Saif Al Mazroui, the deputy head of the Dubai Police traffic department. "Therefore, it is important to keep them in good condition so they do not lose value."

Lt Col Al Mazroui said the cars would be shifted to the new storage site in about a week, after final preparations.

Khalid Al Kamali, the head of the Al Qusais confiscated cars division, said: "We are also studying the possibility of implementing additional charges on the cars' owners for the special parking of these cars."

Police say there are three main reasons cars ended up in the impound area: unpaid traffic fines; a case involving the car pending in court; or the vehicles being involved in a criminal case.

"Many owners have hefty fines registered on their cars so they decide not to claim them as it is no longer worthwhile keeping these cars," Lt Col Al Mazroui said.

In other cases, the owners have defaulted on the bank loan they used to buy the car. Once there is a decision on the case the bank will probably reclaim the cars, officials said.

"So the banks would be affected if the cars loses value due to the long stay in the confiscation area," Lt Col Al Mazroui said.

The 42 luxury cars to go to the storage site include four Ferraris, all of which are stolen and "wanted by Interpol", Mr Al Kamali said.

Ten of the cars have accumulated total fines of Dh2.3 million, police statistics show.

The vehicles were parked in a sand lot at Al Qusais but three weeks ago were moved to a paved area until they can be parked indoors.

Under a law issued in 2008, Dubai Police can sell cars that have been impounded for more than six months and have not been claimed.

The law stipulates traffic police need to inform the owner a month before selling it and announce the sale in newspapers.

"The majority of the cars we sell have spent more than a year in the confiscation areas," Lt Col Al Mazroui said.

The cars are sold at open auction. Police have been able to raise more than Dh10 million from the five auctions organised since 2008.

The other impound area is in Al Barsha and there is a section for police at the municipality confiscation area. Both are outdoors.

Police are now holding 9,846 confiscated vehicles and are planning another warehouse for luxury cars at Al Qusais.

The second facility now holds confiscated motorcycles and quad bikes that cost up to Dh45,000 each, but these vehicles are expected to be sold at auction next month, Mr Al Kamali said.