Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 November 2019

Dubai's lost mall child speaks English and loves hamburgers - but no one knows who he is

Police believe the five-year-old is Indian but have been unable to track down his parents or identify him

The five-year-old boy was found wandering in Al Reef Mall in Deira, near Salahuddin metro station. Courtesy: Dubai Police
The five-year-old boy was found wandering in Al Reef Mall in Deira, near Salahuddin metro station. Courtesy: Dubai Police

Updated: community left reeling by plight of Dubai's lost boy

A young boy found wandering outside a mall in Dubai three days ago speaks English, loves hamburgers and says his dad is "Superman".

But other than that, police have no idea who he is.

The five-year-old child was found near Al Reef Mall in Deira on Saturday. A Filipina shopper noticed that the boy, who was dressed in a Spiderman T-shirt and matching shorts, was alone and took him into the shopping centre.

She waited for some time before raising the alarm when no one came looking for him.

The interest and welfare of the child is at the heart of our work

Mohammed Ali Rustom, Dubai's Advocate General

With three days having passed since he was found, police are increasingly looking to the public for answers.

They believe the boy may be Indian, despite their attempts to speak to him in Hindi and Urdu being futile. The boy, however, was able to speak to them in English.

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Officers believe the boy's mother left him with a friend to be taken care off, possibly unable to cope. The friend is thought to have left him at the mall on Saturday, presumably in the hope he would be found and well looked after - though they are yet to confirm that.

It is unclear if the boy knows his father. He said his dad was "Superman" when they asked who he was.

Police are hoping that a member of the public will recognise the boy and help officers track down his parents.

The child is being looked after by female officers at Muraqqabat police station and is said to be in good spirits.

Mohammed Ali Rustom, Dubai's advocate general and head of family and juvenile prosecution, said the boy appeared to have been deliberately abandoned.

He said the priority is tracking down his family, though the parents could face legal action if they are found to have breached child protection laws.

“The interest and welfare of the child is at the heart of our work and we cannot speculate at this point. We must wait until investigations are complete,” he said.

The prosecutor said if the child's parents cannot be found, he will be referred to the Foundation for Women and Children, a government-run social services agency, which has residential accommodation.

“We don’t know for certain, but perhaps once the facts of the case are clear, contact would be made to the child’s embassy to arrange for his future care," Mr Rustom said.

Updated: September 10, 2019 04:05 PM

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