Private Detective Services ‘Common in UAE’

DUBAI — Jealous husbands and wives are paying private detectives up to Dh73,000 for a few weeks’ work to stalk their partners in the UAE, despite the practice being severely limited by the law. Three international firms have said that they offer infidelity checks in the UAE, which involves following spouses and making notes on their whereabouts.

By Martin Croucher And ?amira Agarib

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Published: Mon 10 Aug 2009, 12:39 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 9:20 AM

However, police have said that taking pictures without permission or bugging property is illegal, and both detectives and customers will be punished if caught. Two companies asked whether they would monitor a spouse for a month said that the cost would be between Dh37,000 and Dh73,000 for 20 days’ work.

“We always have clients in the UAE and infidelity investigations are very common,” one private detective said.

None of the companies contacted, which had permanent investigators here, were willing to meet to discuss the case. Communication was restricted to telephone calls and email.

Khalil Al Mansoori, Director of Criminal Investigation Department at Dubai Police, said that private investigation firms are illegal in the UAE.

“No one has the right to interfere in people’s personal life and take photographs without their permission,” he told Khaleej Times. “Anyone who does so will be punished.”

However another American firm, ICS, stated on its website that it will carry out investigations in Dubai but said that the depth of the investigation would be limited.

“Surveillance in this area is not accepted as in more Western cultures, and in many cases photos and video will simply be impossible to obtain,” the blurb on the website read.

“Under these circumstances, traditional surveillance methods are required. Traditional surveillance involves an agent keeping track of and observing a subject, taking notes and documenting their findings in a report.

“Because no visual proof is provided, it is important you have an agent you can trust and who is willing to testify in court regarding their findings.”

Paul Hawker of UK-based Research Associates, who specialises in infidelity cases, said that it was important for firms to check out the local laws before sending detectives internationally.

“You have to understand the culture and know what can and can’t be done,” he said. “There are ways that you can still carry out an investigation legally as long as you know what is allowed.”

Hawker, who has 32 years’ experience in private investigations, said that an investigation can take as little as one day or a week to complete.

“We work with clients to help catch any inappropriate behaviour,” he said. “We ask clients to cram their spouses schedule for a few days with social activities, but then let them know that there is a window of opportunity arising soon.

“When the time comes, we follow them and catch them when they meet the other party,” he said.

“Sometimes we have been able to get a hotel room right next to where they were staying, or a table at a restaurant next to them.”

Hawker said that from these positions his operatives – many of whom are ex-SAS – are able to collect damning evidence for any court case.

“While many investigators regard it as a good result, it is a very sad thing for the other partner to hear.”

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