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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 September 2018

'Fundraiser' caught with Dh300,000 pretended to raise cash for mosque

Dubai Police warn of beggars and scammers as Ramadan approaches

A woman donates money to a beggar outside a prayer area in Al Baraha, Dubai. Police say that only by giving through the recognised charitable organisations can residents be sure their zakat is going to a good cause. Jeff Topping / The National
A woman donates money to a beggar outside a prayer area in Al Baraha, Dubai. Police say that only by giving through the recognised charitable organisations can residents be sure their zakat is going to a good cause. Jeff Topping / The National

A GGC citizen scammed Dh300,000 from generous donors by claiming he was raising money to build a mosque, Dubai Police said on Wednesday.

Officers said the older man, who was arrested several months ago, was typical of the con men and beggars who seek to take advantage of faithful Muslims in the month of Ramadan.

Another was a man posing as a beggar with a disability who was found with Dh70,000, police said, without giving further details.

“Fraudsters take advantage of the Holy Month and of people’s charitable spirit,” said Brigadier Ahmed Thani bin Ghalaita, head of Refaa Police Station in Bur Dubai.

“We've seen many people fly to the UAE specifically to prey on people’s good will and take advantage. These are scammers who might be wealthy and healthy.

"Some of them pretend to be amputees, blind or unable to talk. Most of them are Asians and Iranians."

Last month, the Federal National Council passed a new law to target beggars and organised gangs that use beggars, following the arrest of a group of men that exploited dozens of people with special needs to make money.

In the first three months of this year, 232 people have been arrested for begging in Dubai, 61 women and 171 men.

Among those were three women who used their children to beg have been arrested.

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Read more:

New law targets beggars and organised gangs with stiff fines and jail time

Criminal gang used 35 people with special needs to beg for them

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Last year, 653 people were arrested for begging, including 136 women and 517 men.

“Begging is a crime and punished by the law. Any person who has been arrested for begging is not allowed to enter the country again,” he added.

“People who are willing to donate, they can go charity organisation,” Brig bin Ghalaita.

Police patrols will monitor mosques, residential areas, and shopping centres during Ramadan and the public have been urged to report about beggars by calling 901, contacting police stations or using its smart application.

Brigadier Saeed bin Sulaiman, head of Rashidiya Police Station, said: “In some instances, we've seen beggars find a family home with an open door and enter. We urge the public to lock their doors.”

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