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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

Hundreds arrested for begging in Dubai after crackdown

Police say offenders are taking advantage of public generosity

More than 200 people have been arrested for begging in Dubai since the start of Ramadan - as police send out a warning to the public not to be caught out.

A total of 237 people have been arrested by Dubai Police during the past three weeks, with Dubai Police urging residents to be on their guard against potential fraudsters taking advantage of the generous spirit on show during the holy month.

Police say children have been used by their mothers to beg on their behalf, while many enter the country on visit visas with the specific aim of begging.

Lt Col Ali Salem, director of the anti-infiltration section at the criminal investigation department of Dubai Police, said: "Five children were being used by their mothers to collect money during Ramadan. In such cases, the child, regardless of their age, are not found legally accountable."

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Read more:

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

More than 90 beggars arrested since Ramadan began

Dozens arrested for begging in Ajman 'had money on them'

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Lt Salem, speaking during a press conference at Naif Police Station, added: "An Arab family were among those arrested after asking handouts nearby clinics in Dubai in order to take advantage of patients’ generous spirit.

“A patient or a person visiting a patient would like to donate. The family, parents and their three children, entered the country on visit visa and were collecting money nearby clinics in Bur Dubai.

“Two sisters were caught begging nearby clinics and medical centres as well."

Eighty-eight women were arrested for begging this Ramadan, including 42 in begging hot spot Souk Naif alone.

“Souk Naif is the most common area to find people begging or asking for charity,” said Lt Col Salem.

Lt Col Salem said all those arrested for begging were capable of working but had instead opted to earn a living by begging.

“All those who were caught begging underwent the proper legal procedures. Some are referred to public prosecution and others, found truly in need, are referred to charity organisations,” added Lt Col Salem.

“Those who entered the country only to beg paid at least Dh7,000 to get a visit visa and pay for airline tickets,” said Lt Col Salem.

Police have warned that tourism companies found sponsoring people caught begging face being hit with a Dh10,000 fine.

“A tourism company that provided services to those posing as beggars are fined Dh10,000 for each case. Non-payment of fines will lead to closing down the tourism company,” said Lt Col Salem.

Lt Col Salem said some companies received warning letters for providing people posing as beggars with assistance and visit visas.

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