Dubai: Customs inspectors yesterday foiled an attempt to smuggle more than 1,200 items associated with the practice of witchcraft and sorcery into the UAE through Terminal 3 at Dubai International Airport.
Two Asian men were arrested at the airport in connection with the seizure.
Ali Al Maghawi, Dubai Customs’ Director of Airport Operations Department, said the two men were apprehended after their bags were scanned.
“Two Asian passengers were suspected when their bags passed through the internal inspection machines,” he said. “Their bags were scanned and searched manually.
Inspectors found out a great number of wicca literature, talismans and items which are usually used in witchcraft and sorcery work.”
Al Maghawi pointed out that the 1,200 seized items fell into 28 categories used for black magic, sorcery and incantation.
“The practices of witchery and sorcery are a dangerous phenomenon threatening the security of the community. They manipulate minds of people by exploiting their troubles,” Al Maghawi said.
The seized items included talismans, amulets, worry beads, animal skins, sorcery knives, magic teaching books, bags containing fish skeletons, animal bones, ampoules full of blood and other liquids, animal drawings, strings, pieces of charcoals, finger rings, oysters, leaves, powders, cotton rolls used in sorcery, thread and some dark materials, customs officials said.
The department reported 16 seizures of items used in sorcery in the first quarter of the year. Last year, the customs department made a total of 92 seizures of tools of witchcraft.
Customs officials said that smugglers of such items were in most cases from Asian, African and European nationalities, who use clothes, hand bags, travel bags and parcels for smuggling these items.
Con artists often use black magic or sorcery to supposedly help release people from their problems but then exploit their susperstititions and ignorance to defraud their victims of large sums of money.
In one case in Dubai earlier this year, a self-proclaimed African sorcerer was convicted of conning people into paying him hefty amounts of money to use black magic to rid them of their financial difficulties, family disputes and illnesses.
A police officer said that though witchcraft was one of the oldest tricks in history, it remained a lucrative avenue for fraudsters. “They [people] tend to think that resorting to black magic will help solve their problems — that one day they will wake up after taking a potion or chanting certain phrases and all their problems will vanish. The only thing that vanishes is the hefty amounts of money people pay for such fraud.”
Another sorcerer was arrested in November after he conned a woman into paying him Dh15,000 to rescue her marriage. The case came to light when an Arab woman filed a complaint that the man had deceived her and made her pay Dh15,000 to make her husband, who left her one week after their wedding, return to her.
Last July, an Arab man was arrested for posing as a sorcerer and practising black magic and employing beauty salon employees to channel clients to him. The man was caught red-handed following a trap laid by Dubai Police.
The suspect, it later turned out, paid the beauty salon workers up to Dh3,000 each in commission after duping clients of five-figure sums of money telling them he would cast spells on their husbands.