x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Fifty men found living in Sharjah garage

A garage registered for use as a car repair business was turned into a makeshift hostel for more than 50 illegal residents, police said.

SHARJAH // A garage registered for use as a car repair business was turned into a makeshift hostel for more than 50 illegal residents, police said yesterday. Officers who raided the building in Al Khan Street early yesterday found dozens of men, mostly from India and Bangladesh, who had either run away from their sponsors or been laid off. Hundreds of pirated pornographic videos were seized during the raid. "The unemployed illegals had turned into pornographic vendors," said Brig Yousef al Naqbi, the head of Sharjah Police's Criminal Investigation Department.

The garage was also extremely dirty, he said, describing the hygiene as "the worst I have seen". Only two toilets, which were not enclosed, served the entire garage. "Even where they were sleeping was smelly and unswept," said Brig al Naqbi. "People were sharing a single bed. We found some who slept three on a small mattress on the ground." Police said several beds in the garage were empty, leading Brig al Naqbi to believe that even more men could have been living there.

Police said the garage was registered to a Bangladeshi, who was at his flat in Sharjah at the time of the raid. The owner told police he had been forced into providing accommodation as his car repair business was no longer bringing in enough money to meet his costs. He said he charged Dh130 (US$35) per month to stay. Once admitted, it was up to each man to find a sleeping space. The case has been handed to public prosecutors.

Last year, Sharjah Municipality discovered several people in another garage who had been sleeping in their clients' cars. The garage's owner and its inhabitants were fined. ykakande@thenational.ae