UAE: Eccentric Epoch 2023 Award winners

As we bid adieu to the year 2023, City Times unveils the Eccentric Epoch Awards, illuminating the year's most peculiar narratives


Mazhar Farooqui

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Published: Sun 31 Dec 2023, 5:25 PM

Shocking Cyber Shenanigans Award

The honour goes to: Ten Asian men from an organised crime group, blissfully running their cyber operations from two rented villas in Fujairah. What gave them away? A jaw-dropping electricity bill of Dh23,000! Crime doesn't pay, but unusually high electricity bills certainly do.

Jackpot Juggernaut Award

The champ in this category is: Pradeep Kumar, the Indian expat who defied the odds and won the Big Ticket Abu Dhabi jackpot not once, but twice! Scooping a whopping Dh15 million, Kumar is now the talk of the town. Double the charm, double the fun!

Dubai's Fast and Furious Biker's Wild Ride Award

The unrivalled speedster treasured awardee is: The daredevil biker who broke the speed limit at a mind-boggling 280 km/h. Dubai Police issued a stern warning: stunts endangering lives mean seized bikes and legal troubles. Fast and furious? More like fast and fined.

The Colourful Idea Award: Henna or High?

The award for this category goes to: A smuggler at Dubai International Airport attempting to sneak in 8.9kg of marijuana disguised as henna. Customs officers got a whiff of something fishy when the henna bag seemed unusually heavy. Lesson learned: Stick to traditional henna designs, not high-risk hijinks.

Levitating Lounge Award

This honour goes to Dubai's James Penny, whose £5,000 (Dh22,530) rattan sofa took a spontaneous flight. Penny was in a meeting at Jumeirah Village Circle when a friend sent him a picture with the message, 'Is this yours?' It was a picture of his sofa that had soared off his 10th-floor terrace in Leeds, West Yorkshire, landing dramatically on a lamp post spike 100 meters away. The viral saga even saw someone offering it for free on Facebook Marketplace.

The Unrivalled Limb Treasured Awardee

The undisputed champion in this category is: A beggar who, amidst the Ramadan crackdown on beggars, was apprehended with an astonishing Dh300,000 concealed within an artificial limb. Now that's what we call being "out on a limb" with a hidden treasure!

The Schemer Shakedown Award

Not a tough decision. This accolade goes to: A mastermind who, with the finesse of a snake oil salesman, lured unsuspecting women into his web with promises of luxurious home massages. Little did they know it was a plot to exploit them with blackmail and threats for financial gain. Sharjah Police didn't miss a beat, orchestrating a trap that left the schemer red-handed and his deceit unravelled.

The Magic Misfire Award

The award goes to: Seven wannabe wizards who fancied themselves as miracle workers, claiming they could cure diseases with sorcery and genies. Now, they're enjoying a six-month timeout in the UAE's court system, complete with a Dh50,000 fine. Their magical misadventure involved pretending to be possessed by jinns with healing powers. One particularly audacious trickster spun a yarn about a 400-year-old jinn in his possession, but the only thing enchanted was their ticket to the courtroom.

The Crypto-Romance Scam Survivor Award

This one goes to: A Dubai-based IT director who found himself in a crypto-romance whirlwind. It all began innocently enough with a message from a mysterious woman named Coco on WhatsApp from a Hong Kong number. What started as a casual exchange quickly turned into intimate conversations, and before he knew it, Coco was encouraging him to invest in cryptocurrency. The only thing he invested was his trust, and the result? A broken heart and a loss of Dh650,000.

The Swimming with Real Estate Award

The honour takes a dive with: A daring female real estate agent in Dubai who made a splash on Instagram. Her unconventional tactic? Posting a video of herself lounging in a swimming pool, inviting potential clients to 'take a swim' with her before diving into a property purchase. A bold approach that, unfortunately, turned out to be a bit too deep for the job.

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