Sharjah - Police also arrested the group behind the bootlegging operation.
Three vehicles loaded with boxes containing a huge stock of liquor bottles were recently seized during a joint operation carried out by the Sharjah Municipality and Sharjah Police. The confiscated vehicles belonged to bootleggers, who intended to supply the consignment of alcohol to their customers - mostly labourers - in Sharjah.
Khalid bin Falah Al Suwaidi, director of customers services and inspection department in the civic body, said that a municipality team joined hands with the Sharjah Police to seize the cars laden with alcohol bottles. Sale of alcohol is prohibited in Sharjah, as it affects the community members and their security, he pointed out, adding that the bootleggers bring it from other parts to sell it illegally in the emirate.
He said that the civic body continues to conduct intensive campaigns through the inspection teams to control all negative practices like bootlegging. During one of the campaigns, the inspectors suspected the movement of some vehicles and targeted them. One of the bootleggers was arrested, while another fled.
A police official said during interrogation, the nabbed bootlegger told the cops about the whereabouts of his aides. The police swung into action and raided the locations, while catching two more bootleggers red-handed as they were transporting alcohol to labour accommodations. They confessed to having smuggled liquor bottles to Sharjah to sell them to labourers in their camps in industrial areas and Al Sajjah area, as well as some clients in residential areas in the emirate.
All the suspects have been referred to the public prosecution following their confession, the official said.
The CID department at the Sharjah Police stressed that even though bootlegging had been declining in the last three years, it apparently is rearing its ugly head again. The police would boost efforts to curb bootlegging in the emirate by locating the storage areas as well as sale and distribution points.
The police official explained that police patrols would be intensified in industrial areas. Several cases of illegal alcohol trading in workers' accommodations have been reported earlier in police stations, he said and added that alcohol consumption triggers violence and crimes. The bootleggers form groups and clash among themselves, jeopardising public safety, the cop said.
The police have urged the public to help them put an end to the illegal practice by reporting such activities on 999, or 06-5632222, or via email at email@example.com
On the other hand, the municipality called for similar public cooperation to deal with the menace by contacting the call center on 993.