x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Police arrest man who burned himself to improve begging prospects

An Asian man caught begging in Khalidiya purposely burnt himself in a bid to gain more money from sympathisers, Abu Dhabi police said.

ABU DHABI // An Asian man caught begging in Khalidiya purposely burnt himself in a bid to gain more money from sympathisers, Abu Dhabi police said today. Police said in a statement that he burnt his left arm in a "disgusting manner" using domestic gas "in order to elicit sympathy among people and gain more success in his illegal begging". The man was caught in a shopping area Khalidiya, where he was reportedly approaching shoppers and shopkeepers. Police arrested him after noticing he was "showing obvious signs of nausea and illness". Col Maktoum al Sharifi, director of the Capital Police, said the man had entered the country on a tourist visa that had since expired, and was unemployed and with no source of income. He was carrying Dh618 (US$168), a mobile phone and several miniature Qurans when he was arrested. "The man confessed that he had burnt himself in order to convince people that he was in need of money, and claimed he was unaware that begging was illegal," said Col al Sharifi. Police have announced they will increase patrols during Ramadan in order to target beggars. Civilians are encouraged to report any incidences of begging by calling 8002929 or sending an SMS message to 2828.

hkhalaf@thenational.ae