Illegal massage centres in Dubai: 5.9 million cards seized, 870 people arrested

Police explain how residents can seek legal services in the emirate


A Staff Reporter

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Published: Sun 21 Aug 2022, 11:51 AM

Last updated: Sun 21 Aug 2022, 10:36 PM

The Dubai Police have, in 15 months, seized a whopping 5.9 million business cards that advertise illegal massage services. A top official said 870 people have been arrested for offering the illegal service in 2021 and the first three months of 2022. Of these, 588 were charged for violating public morals and 309 for printing and distributing the cards.

The police helped disconnect 919 phone numbers found on these cards.

The force has warned residents against seeking services from these centres. Doing so poses “serious threats”, including extortion bids.

How the centres operate

Such centres are a front for illegal and criminal activities, according to Brigadier Abdullah Khadem Suroor Al Maasem, director of the Bur Dubai Police Station and chairman of the Board of Directors of Police Stations.

“Unlicensed massage centres deceive victims through fake social media accounts. Once the victim arrives, they find themselves surrounded by a group of people who drag them to an apartment and tie them up to take indecent pictures (which are later used) for blackmail,” the officer said.

Ending the card menace

Earlier this year, the police had intensified efforts to track down locations and operators of the unlicensed businesses, as well as to arrest those who distribute the cards.

"Not only do such cards promote illegal businesses, they also contain indecent pictures that violate public morals. We are putting an end to this uncivilised phenomenon that causes hazards to motorists and pollutes our beautiful streets," a top official had said.

In three years, the police had raided 218 flats used for the activity and arrested 2,025 violators, the police said in February this year.

Raising awareness

Brig. Al Maasem said the cops have launched several campaigns to combat the illegal activity. The police have distributed 600 awareness brochures to real estate companies and have sent thousands of text messages. He noted that their awareness campaign has benefited 8,007 companies and reached 53,816 of their employees.


How to report illegal activities

Brig. Al Maasem stressed that ensuring public safety is a shared responsibility between the Dubai Police and community members.

"Dial 901 or use 'Police Eye' service via the Dubai Police app to report any suspicious, shady and illegal activities, including these unlicensed centres and their promotors," he urged.

Brig. Al Maasem noted that licensed massage centres are registered on the Dubai Economic and Tourism. Those looking for legal massages may verify the legality of such centres by contacting the entities concerned.

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