Beggar arrested after pocketing Dh300,000 in Dubai
Dubai - He was among 232 beggars arrested in the first three months of this year.
An 'appeal to build a mosque' helped a beggar pocket over Dh300,000 in Dubai, before the long arm of the law caught up with him. Dubai residents donated generously to the 'cause', believing they were helping the Asian man build a mosque in his hometown, the police revealed on Wednesday.
In another shocking case, an elderly man took advantage of the giving nature of the UAE residents and made Dh70,000 by pretending to be blind. In yet another case, three beggars came together to con unsuspecting residents of Dh10,000.
The suspects were among the 232 beggars arrested in the first three months of this year, the police said as they launched an anti-begging drive ahead of the holy month of Ramadan.
The police said beggars are exploiting children, as three kids were among those rounded up during this period. The children were taken to the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children for rehabilitation.
The number of beggars arrested this year has decreased as compared to the same period last year - 653 in 2017; 1,021 in 2016 and 1,405 in 2015.
Brigadier Mohammed Rashid bin Saree, deputy director of the criminal investigation department, said the anti-begging campaign has been launched ahead of Ramadan, when scores of beggars come to the UAE specifically to appeal to the generosity of residents.
In 2017, the police had arrested 154 beggars in Ramadan, as compared to 641 during the holy month in 2016.
Warning beggars, Brig bin Saree said those caught begging during the holy month will lose the money they earn, be jailed for a month and then deported.
"The police are not oppressive, but just work towards curbing this phenomenon because of its dangerous consequences," said Brig bin Saree.
Detailing the police plan to curb begging, the officer said the city will be divided into sectors that will be monitored by officers. The police have colour-coded the different areas: 'Red' means heavy presence of beggars; 'orange' indicates fewer beggars; while 'green' means the area is beggar-free.
The officers will directly report to the police control room and respond to calls about beggars immediately. They will be patrolling around the most vulnerable areas, too - Sheikh Zayed Road, and around mosques, shopping malls and markets.
Brig bin Saree said the police are educating the public about dangers posed by beggars. They are also spreading awareness via social and traditional media as part of the campaign.
The officer said that the arrested beggars will be interrogated to understand how they entered the country. If tourism firms have a hand in the nexus, they will also be held legally accountable.
Most of the beggars the police have arrested were Asians and Indians topped the list. The beggars usually come on visit visas or infiltrate the country.
The police have urged residents to report beggars on 901.