Police: Don’t be Fooled by Beggars’ Sorry Tales

DUBAI — Beggars cashing in on 
others’ charity during Ramadan have made tens and even hundreds of 
thousands of dirhams, a senior Dubai Police officer said.

By Amira Agarib And Lana Mahdi

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Published: Sun 30 Aug 2009, 11:19 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 9:25 AM

Brigadier Mohammed Rashid Al Muhairi, Director of the Tourist Security Department at Dubai Police, called on residents not to be duped by beggars even as the department intensifies a campaign to target them, arresting 57 during the first five days of Ramadan.

“We came across many examples of people of different nationalities who came to the country on various types of visa and then took up begging to get high profit as the majority of them are not in need of money,” Al Muhairi said. “Among those who were caught, the police found that they had between them Dh65,000 during Ramadan. Also, earlier, a beggar was found to have collected Dh 4 million.”

He said a quarter of those arrested so far were women, mainly from Asian and Arab countries.

Al Muhairi said tourist companies had been instructed to be careful when arranging for visit visas during Ramadan as there has been an influx of beggars on visit visas typically during Ramadan. He said most of those arrested came on visit visas, some organised by tour operators, and Al Muhairi warned that police would take action against tourist companies that repeatedly brought beggars in.

Tourism companies would be put on a black list and their license would be cancelled. The police have also arrested a number of housemaids who also beg to make more money.

Beggars generally start asking for money after Isha prayers and mainly stay around shopping malls, mosques and cooperatives. The police have allocated 48 patrols to target these areas. Al Muhairi said a large number of them target UAE nationals and Arabs. Some target people who have just drawn money from banks or ATMs. Others knock on the doors of residents’ homes and narrate tragic tales to gain sympathy, and money, of housewives. Some beggars falsely claim to be sick.

“This Ramadan, we arrested a 25-year-old driver who had knocked on the door of villa and begged for money,” Al Muhairi said. “He claimed that he was sick and he lived with his wife who was waiting in the car for him. The UAE national informed the police who found that he was healthy and the woman in the car was not his wife.”

“Beggars have started to employ new methods — they entered the cooperatives and ask people to help them in purchasing milk or other items. After that, they return the item and take the money.”

Some beggars take with them children from one to three years old and use them to exploit people’s feelings.

He added that beggars who were taken into custody during last Ramadan have admitted to the police that they were brought in by tour operators. And, the passports of some of them show ‘businessmen’ as their profession.

He said that a number of Arab women were found posing as Emiratis and wearing abayas to beg. “They claim to be UAE nationals, but they are not. Such an act on the part of expatriate women harms the image of national women,” he said.

Al Muhairi said these foreigners ruin the reputation of UAE which has a number of charity institutions that provide for people in need. Expatriates who are caught begging face penalties of jail for one month and deported or being fined.

“If there are UAE nationals among them, they will have to sign a declaration saying that they will not resort to begging again,” he said. Al Muhairi called on the community members to cooperate with the police to curb begging which affects security.

Hadia Abdel Haleem, a housewife in Al Ain, said that while she was waiting in a beauty parlour, a strong young woman came by begging for some money. The woman was very persistent. The same person had come to the parlour a few months ago seeking monetary assistance with a different tale of woe.

Al Ain resident Sulaima Ala said, “Sometimes, the same beggar repeats the story to gain sympathy. The usual stories are about sickness of parents and children besides husband’s disability and death.”

The Director of Al Ain Red Crescent Society (AARCS), Hamad Saif Al Shamsy, said the fault lies not with the beggars alone. “People should realise their responsibilities and not encourage this practice by giving alms to beggars,” he stressed.

Al Shamsy added that charity associations, such as theirs, offer financial aid to deprived individuals and families. He appealed to the needy to go to the various centers of Red Crescent to seek help.

Al Muhairi said residents in Dubai could call on the toll free number 8004438 to report beggars and Dubai Police patrols would reach the area in a short time.

amira@khaleejtimes.ae

lanamahdi@khaleejtimes.com



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