Dubai: 967 beggars, street vendors, illegal workers arrested since Ramadan

Begging is a crime in the UAE punishable by a Dh5,000 fine and three-months imprisonment


Waad Barakat

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Photo: KT file
Photo: KT file

Published: Sun 28 Apr 2024, 1:36 PM

Last updated: Sun 28 Apr 2024, 10:04 PM

Since the launch of its "Anti-begging" campaign in Ramadan, Dubai Police has arrested 396 beggars, 292 street vendors, and 279 illegal workers. Ninety-nine per cent of the beggars arrested look at begging as a ‘profession’, said the police.

“Dubai Police is always keen to raise awareness among the community about the dangers of begging, and intensifies its efforts in the holy month of Ramadan and the holidays, given the attempt of beggars to seek sympathy from people during these periods," said Brigadier Ali Salem Al Shamsi, the director of the Suspects and Criminal Phenomena Department in the General Department of Criminal Investigation in a press release.

He noted that these violators are seen in residential and commercial areas and places of worship, in addition to the spread of street vendors who try various ways to gain people’s sympathy.

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Brigadier Al Shamsi stressed on the dangers of buying from street vendors, saying: “Street vendors also try to elicit sympathy differently but pose a real threat to community safety, especially when they offer food and supplies of unknown origin, presented in poor conditions."

He further said that begging, street vending, and the presence of illegal workers threaten community security and tarnish the state's image, adding these phenomena are sometimes linked to severe consequences like theft, pickpocketing, and exploitation of children and the sick.

Al Shamsi said begging is an illegal act punishable by Federal Law No. 9 of 2018 on Combating Begging. Last month, the Dubai police arrested two women with Dh60,000 and Dh30,000 cash, respectively, that they made solely by begging.

One of the women used her child to gain sympathy. Both women had come to the UAE on visit visas. The Dubai Police said 99 per cent of the beggars they arrested considered begging a ‘profession’.

Over the past four years, the Dubai Police have apprehended 1,701 beggars. In 2023 alone, nearly 500 beggars were arrested, indicating the growing scale of the problem.

Begging is a crime in the UAE punishable by a Dh5,000 fine and three-months imprisonment. Those found operating a gang of beggars or recruiting people from outside the country to seek alms face a six-month jail term and a Dh100,000 fine. Raising funds without a permit is punishable by Dh500,000 fines.


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