Bagful of cash, passport, diamond ring: 10 instances when Dubai Police saved the day for tourists in UAE

AI-powered lost and found smart system of the authority helped return over 80,000 lost items to owners inside and outside the country


Mazhar Farooqui

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Supplied photo
Supplied photo

Published: Wed 11 Jan 2023, 1:25 PM

Last updated: Mon 30 Oct 2023, 9:50 AM

Dubai Police recently surprised a Kyrgyz tourist by returning a Dh110,000 watch she lost during a visit to the city about a year ago. However, this is not the first time the men in uniform brought a smile back to the faces of holidaymakers by reuniting them with their lost items.

We round up ten instances where the authority saved the day for forgetful tourists.

1. Misplaced marriage certificate

A German man was left distraught and embarrassed after losing his marriage certificate. Try as he might, he couldn’t recollect if he had misplaced the important document in his home country or during a visit to Dubai months ago. Hoping against hope, he wrote to Dubai Police about the hotel where he stayed during his trip to the city. Imagine his joy when Dubai Police not only found his marriage certificate but also delivered it to him.

2. Bagful of cash

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied

By the time British traveller Peter Lawson realised he had left a bag containing $19,000 (Dh70,000) at Dubai Airport, it was too late. His flight had already taken off. But Lawson remained calm, as he never doubted the abilities of Dubai Police to find his precious bag. His trust was not misplaced. Within an hour of reporting the lost bag upon landing in the UK, he heard back from Dubai Police confirming that the bag had been found with the money intact.

3. Diamond ring found within four hours

A woman tourist lost her diamond ring but did not know where. Fortunately, Dubai Police saved her day. They found the expensive jewellery in less than four hours and returned it to the owner. A European visitor had found the ring and hidden it in his luggage, hoping to get away with it. He couldn’t get far.

— Report your lost items using smart app by Dubai Police

4. Holiday horror

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied

Siegfried Tellbach gasped in horror when he checked into a Thailand hotel around this time last year and unpacked his luggage. A bag that contained €33,600 was missing. Tellbach had flown to Thailand from his home country Germany via Dubai International Airport, but he couldn’t recollect where exactly he lost the money. An officer from the lost and found department of Dubai Police came to his rescue. The bag was found and returned to its rightful owner on his flight back via Dubai International Airport.

4. Scouring the seabed

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied

Dubai Police would go to any length to find a lost item, even if that means plunging into the depths of the ocean in the dead of night. In 2021, police divers scoured the seabed to retrieve a smartphone which had slipped from a man’s hand and fallen into the waters in the Dubai Harbour area. The fact that the incident occurred at night didn’t deter the police from mounting the complex search operation using special tools and lights. Earlier, Dubai police divers retrieved a luxury watch from the sea after a tourist called them asking for help. The timepiece had slipped off his wrist while he was having lunch at a Palm Jumeirah restaurant overlooking the sea.

6. Lost Rolex hand-delivered to owner in the UK

Image used for illustrative purpose. Photo: AFP
Image used for illustrative purpose. Photo: AFP

A Briton woman rubbed her eyes in disbelief when a Dubai Police officer showed up at the door of her London Apartment in December 2017 to deliver a Dh100,000 Rolex watch that she had lost during her visit to Dubai. She had forgotten the timepiece in a Dubai hotel room. The hotel staff that discovered it and alerted the lost and found department of Dubai Police, which then reached out to the watch owner to tell her that she could collect the watch during her next visit to Dubai. But when the police did not hear back from the woman for nine months, they started to explore other options. Luckily, a delegation of Dubai Police was visiting the UK to attend a conference. An officer from Al Rashidya Police was then tasked to hand over the watch to the woman.

7. Passport found in record time

Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Losing a passport is every traveller’s worst nightmare. Sudanese visitor Yahiya Abdul found himself in a tight spot when he realised that he had forgotten the important document in a cab on the day he was flying out of Dubai. He was still thinking of rescheduling his trip and contacting his embassy to request a new passport when he got a call from Dubai Police. They found the passport with the help of the Road and Transport Authority. It was returned to the man within 30 minutes.

8. Lost bag sent to owner in Bulgaria

A Bulgarian tourist had resigned herself to fate when she lost a bag at Dubai International Airport last year. It contained important documents and over $9,000 in cash. The woman’s grief turned into joy when officers from the lost and found section found the bag and had it sent to her home address in Bulgaria

9. Phone returned to owner in France

Not just expensive watches and cash, Dubai Police has also returned things like lost cell phones to their owners in their home country. Some time back, a French tourist wrote to the authorities to report a lost phone he had misplaced while travelling to the airport. The phone was found and sent to the tourist in his hometown.

10. Just 30 minutes

Thirty minutes - that’s what it took Dubai Police to reunite a Russian tourist with two bags she had left behind in a bus while touring the city last year. Since the woman couldn’t remember the bus route or number, a special team was formed to retrace her movements using the city’s smart systems. Within minutes the bus driver was contacted, and the bags were returned to the owner.


5,891 lost items were found and returned to their owners by Dubai Police at Expo 2020 during the opening month.

Did you know?

The AI-powered lost and found smart system of Dubai Police has helped return over 80,000 lost items to owners inside and outside the country. The service can be accessed on app and at smart police stations.

What the law says

Those who find lost items or money must hand it over to the police within 48 hours to avoid a penalty.


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