By Afkar Abdullah www.khaleejtimes.com
DUBAI – The Dubai Police are taking stringent measures to curb begging activities in the emirate and the whole country in view of the holy month of Ramadan.
The police are coordinating with other countries where beggars come from to the UAE and have intensified inspection campaign in Dubai, a top official said.
Col Jamal Al Jalaf, Deputy Director of Investigation and Search Department for Monitoring and Control Affairs, said the number of beggars have been reduced due to the stringent measures taken by the police. The police arrested 295 beggars during the first six months of the current year while it was 716 during the same period last year. All the arrested are from other countries. However, the reduction in numbers show that this is no more a phenomena, but just illegal activity. Among the 295 arrested this year,74 are women and the rest are men and children.
Col Al Jalaf said that the drop in the number of beggars was a result of the intensified inspection campaign by the police to ensure security during the holy month of Ramadan.
He added that 90 per cent of the beggars come from other countries with entry or tourist visa. They enter the country during religious occasions, Ramadan and Eid. To curb this, the government has toughened the visa procedures and the punishment of those who found involved in bringing them to the country has been made severe.
He said the police are making efforts to coordinate with countries from which they come from as they enter the UAE as per the schedules and plans made by big gangs. They are well trained and are being sent to all Arab countries during the religious occasion and to Saudi Arabia during Haj season.
Last year the number of beggars arrested in August and September ranged from 142 to 169 while it was 33 to 40 during other months. He added that many of the beggars are in good health conditions but they pretend as handicapped and use various methods to convince the people to pay them.
Answering a question, Col Al Jalaf said that there were very few Emiratis found begging but most of them come from Arab countries followed by African countries and a small number of them are Asians. The police deploy patrols in places that witness crowd and where the beggars are mostly found such as Bur Dubai.
The police have allocated 60 vehicles for the campaign against beggars and the public can inform the police about beggars on hotline number 8004438 round-the-clock.
Col Al Jalaf pointed out an incident when the CID officers saw an Arab woman who used infant for begging. However, the investigation revealed that the woman had no blood relation with the baby and she hired him to practice begging.
In another case, the police had seized small bus with 20 Asians, who said they were being transported to different areas for begging. They were all arrested, jailed and then deported to their countries.
He urged the public to cooperate with the police to end the illegal activity.