x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

New curbs on illegal behaviour at golf course

Police are stepping up patrols in response to complaints of illicit activities, including drinking, near the old Al Ain golf course.

A worker clears up some of the beer bottles discarded near Al Ain golf course.
A worker clears up some of the beer bottles discarded near Al Ain golf course.

AL AIN // Police are stepping up patrols in response to complaints of illicit activities, including drinking, near the old Al Ain golf course. The evidence, cleanup crews say, is scattered across the area, much of which blows onto the golf course.

Yesterday, The National saw piles of debris that included empty beer and whiskey bottles, beer cans, glue tubes, used condoms and used syringes. "Every day there are people drinking and doing illegal activities right next to the golf course," said Abey Ratne, 47, the Indian caretaker of the course, who supervises the workers who keep it clean. "Every day the same cars and other cars show up and park during the day and night to do things they shouldn't do," he said.

"The police don't come down here [enough] because it is off the main road, but they really should." Lt Col Mohammed al Suhail, of Abu Dhabi Police's Al Ain division, said officers would take immediate action. "We will send a number of patrols and Criminal Investigations Divisions undercover officers to the area to ensure that all those there are not engaging in illegal or illicit activities," he said.

"If someone is engaging in immoral activity on the street he will be arrested and prosecuted - non-residential, outlying areas are no exception." On Sunday night, police patrols swept through the area. The next day saw cleanup crews removing bottles and other rubbish. The Centre of Waste Management in Abu Dhabi declined to comment on what activities might have been going on near the golf course, but sent two area supervisors to arrange for the items left behind by those who frequent the area to be removed.

"This area is known to us," said an operations manager with MBM-Dallah, the company hired to clean the area, which is called Khatm al Shiklah and is just down the road from the Falcon Research Institute. "We will clean up the area today, and within three days there will be more to clean up. "The police don't come here as it's not a residential area and, if they do, they do not have the right to question anyone unless they receive a complaint of illegal activity going on or they see it themselves.

"We will step up our clean-up efforts of the area." Mr Ratne said the problem was that rather than drinking at nearby hotels, people were using the vacant area so they would not be seen. "These people buy their booze from the liquor shops and the hotels on the road nearby, and come here to get drunk," said Mr Ratne. "They come here and drink and when they want more alcohol they come to the golf course and ask me for it but I always turn them away.

"We sell alcohol only to members that will drink it on the property and to no one else." A Centre of Waste Management staffer visiting the area during the day was startled by what she saw in a parked car. "I am truly shocked," she said, covering her mouth with her hands. "If this is happening in the middle of the day, then what is happening at night?" ealghalib@thenational.ae