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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 September 2018

Fatal fight between rival gangs lands 16 men in jail for murder

Dubai Criminal Court sentenced the Chinese men, aged between 19 and 47, to seven years in jail, followed by deportation

A fight between two rival bootlegging gangs that left one man dead and one seriously injured has landed 16 men in jail after they were convicted of murder.

Dubai Criminal Court sentenced the Chinese men, aged between 19 and 47, to seven years in jail, followed by deportation.

The car park brawl, which lasted about 10 minutes, was captured on video by a tenant in an apartment overlooking the fight.

The clip showed dozens of men gathering at 9pm on March 23 last year armed with axes and metal bars and then engaging in a fight.

Some gang members were seen dragging two severely injured men into a car before fleeing the scene.

A witness contacted police and patrols and an ambulance arrived, at International City, where they found the two injured men in a car.

“One was already dead and the other barely alive,” said a 27-year-old Emirati police lieutenant.

The officer said blood was everywhere in the car park and they found an axe, a sword and a metal bar with a sharp end.

The tenant’s video helped police identify 19 members of the two gangs but only 16 arrests were made. At least one of the three at large fled to Oman.

During police questioning, a number of the men confessed to taking part in the fight after one of the gang's leaders told them to do so because the other gang was taking over their bootlegging business.

Witnesses testified to seeing a large number of Chinese men arriving in cars at the time of the incident, after which loud noises and screams were heard around the neighbourhood.

“I was at the balcony when I saw several cars arrive and a large number of Chinese men armed with axes and bars stepping out of them,” said the 38-year-old Egyptian who filmed the fight.

A Yemeni driver who was having dinner at a nearby restaurant told prosecutors that he heard screams and, when he went to check, he saw the fight.

“They were all armed and almost all of them [were] covered in blood,” said the 50-year-old.

Police said some of the men tried to hide out in mountains in Fujairah but were arrested after a joint operation with that emirate’s force.

The 16 defendants who appeared in court denied charges murder and physical assault that caused injuries to another.

They were all convicted and sentenced to seven years in jail, to be followed by deportation.

Two of the three who remain at large were sentenced to a year in jail each in absentia for physical assault. If they are tracked down they will also be deported after serving their sentence.

They were also fined Dh10,000 each.

The last defendant was referred to the court of misdemeanors on a charge of possessing alcohol to sell.

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