4 tonnes of liquor bottles dug up from Al Quoz

Hundreds of liquor bottles were dug out from Dubai’s Al Quoz area by civic officials on Thursady.

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Published: Mon 26 Sep 2011, 9:41 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 10:57 AM

Bootleggers had buried the cartons and bottles of whisky and beer in mounds of sand in an area where they run an ‘open bar’, a civic official disclosed after digging up the alcohol bottles weighing a whopping four tonnes.

“It’s an open area behind some labour camps in Al Quoz. We knew these guys were active in selling liquor there. When our inspectors visited at the area on Thursday, they found these bottles buried in the sand,” said Khalid Salem Selaiteen who heads the Environmental Emergency Office at Dubai Municipality.

“You won’t believe ... we seized bottles weighing four tonnes from there,” the official told Khaleej Times on Sunday.

He said dozens of cartons of whisky bottles and beer cans were packed in plastic bags. “Our workers also found single bottles buried in the sand. There were some 40 or so.”

Municipal workers used shovels to dig out the bottles which were later destroyed, he said.

The huge cache was seized a day after Selaiteen, who is in charge of conducting raids on unauthorised vendors and bootleggers, vowed to clean up Dubai’s labour housing areas of bootlegging by the end of the year.

Speaking to Khaleej Times after a haul of 1,164 bottles of whiskey, 480 cans of beer and 900 packets of Naswar (a chewable tobacco with mild narcotic effect) last week, Selaiteen had particularly warned bootleggers in Al Quoz Industrial Areas where their activities have been thriving.

Selaiteen, whose office has intensified a crackdown on bootlegging in these areas, said his team confiscated a total of 10 tonnes of bootlegged liquor bottles in the last week.

The biggest haul among that was from the Al Quoz Industrial Area No 1 from where the officials seized a truck full of bottles weighing four tonnes.

Mohammed M, the camp manager in one of the labour accommodation facilities near the site from where the bottles were dug up, said he was surprised and amused to know that the bootleggers had actually buried them in the sandy area.

“I know they do all these activities from behind those heaps of sand in that open area near our camp. We can’t see what goes on behind them. But I didn’t know they were burying the bottles. They have to hide it from both CIDs and their customers. Probably, this is the only safe way they found,” he said.

The vast ground with mounds of sand has been a thriving venue for bootlegging, according to Mohammed who said the operations usually began after the sun set.

“Friday is a busy day for them as all the workers are out enjoying their holiday. I’ve not seen them going towards the main road or making any disturbance in the area. But, still it is an illegal activity. There have been raids earlier, as well. But, these people keep bouncing back to their business,” said Mohammed.

Director General of Dubai Municipality Hussain Nasser Lootah said that the civic body was coordinating with the Dubai Police for preventing bootlegging.

“There are already regulations in place against such illegal activities. But sometimes it happens, mainly in the areas where bachelors live. We are trying to prevent it as much as possible. We are doing it in cooperation with the police,” he said.

sajila@khaleejtimes.com



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