UAE | Crime

Illegal residents in UAE turn to alcohol

Many illegal residents turn public parks in Satwa and Karama into their homes, and social workers are taking the initiative to arrange for their exit passes from respective embassies and repatriate them to their countries.

  • By Anjana Sankar, Senior Reporter
  • Published: 00:00 July 26, 2010
  • Gulf News

Illegal residents make public places like parks their dwellings
  • Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News
  • Illegal residents make public places like parks their dwellings. Social workers are warning that they drink alcohol and take undue advantage of the financial help they receive from good Samaritans or charity groups.

Dubai: Illegal residents who make public parks and pavements their dwellings are turning to alcohol abuse, social workers have warned. They are urging residents not to offer them financial help as the money encourages them to stay and resort to anti-social activities.

Many illegal residents turn public parks in Satwa and Karama into their homes, and social workers are taking the initiative to arrange for their exit passes from respective embassies and repatriate them to their countries.

K. Kumar, Convener of ICWC (Indian Community Welfare Committee), which is the social service arm of the Indian Consulate in Dubai said alcoholism among illegal residents is a serious concern, and it is landing many in trouble with the law enforcement authorities.

"We are coming across many cases where people who dwell in public parks live on alms, and after eating three meals a day, they have enough money to buy alcohol,'" he said.

"There were many volunteer organisations which used to visit parks and offer financial help to the needy. But now we are discouraging the practice as it is encouraging them to continue their illegal stay in the country," said Kumar.

He said ICWC volunteers have even found that bootleggers are active in areas like Satwa park as many illegal dwellers become their regular customers.

Place to rest

When Gulf News scouted the public parks in the wee hours, some of the illegal inhabitants said they are just using the place to rest and sleep.

"My company has not paid me for seven months and I have neither money nor a place to stay. I came to Dubai nine months ago, and I do not know anybody here. I have started living in this park in Satwa for the last two weeks and I do not know where my employer is," said Mohammad Jalal, 24, a Bangladeshi worker.

He said he was recruited by a cleaning company, and for the last four months his Filipino employer has absconded.

"My passport is with him and he is not taking my calls. I had paid 220,000 taka (approximately Dh11, 602) to the agent for my visa by mortgaging my family property. If I go back home, I will have to face the debtors. But I do not know how I can live in this park," said Jalal.

Muneer who runs Marzooqi cafeteria next to the park said he has seen some illegal residents indulging in a drunken revelry late at night. "There are people who deliver alcohol to these people, and there were groups of men who sit and drink till late. They used to buy water and soda from our shop. But nowadays there are not many people as the police regularly round them up from the park. I think many of them were also sent back home under the initiative of some social workers," said Muneer.

Bobby Joseph, vice president of Valley of Love, a charitable organisation based in Dubai, said his organisation has come across incidents where some people take advantage of the help the organisation offers to illegal residents.

"Now what we do is, we observe them for ten days to two weeks during night time and see whether they are indulging in any anti-social activities like drinking before we offer any help."

Illegal act: Report it to police

A police official has called on residents to report any illegal activity they see immediately, said Lieutenant Colonel Mohammad Al Muhairi, Director of the Dubai Police's Tourist Security Department. "Whenever we get tipoffs we investigate the matter immediately. We cannot just suppose that people take the money to buy alcohol. However, if we find it is true, we take action," he said.

— Siham Al Najami, Staff Reporter

Do you have this problem in your neighborhood? What issues have you faced? Have you seen this in any other areas? What do you think can be done to stop this?

Comments (8)

  1. Added 14:07 July 26, 2010

    After reading the article, the root cause of the problem is the non payment of the wages by these organizations who make these people work so much which cannot be tolerated. I would not be surprised if the people resort to alcohol it is definitely the issue of the non payment of wages. It is very important that authorities look in to this seriously. We were pleased to read last year that the authorities does take action seriously on the non payment of wages. Asking the readers not to help is not good as these are people of executives and people who help us daily. Requesting once again to get these shameless and cruel organizations pay these workers on time to avoid a situation like this or else it will be worse and only people who can help them is the authorities which i highly respect.

    Jason Jones, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 12:11 July 26, 2010

    I advise is for such needy people provide them work since they are willing to work for any job in this way they wont be illegal in the country. With regards to the passport the indian embassy should cooperate and provide them passport. They have left their country and family to earn money. I do not blame them at all. The reason they are going into anti social acts to forget their situation. We should be helping those people.

    Mariya, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 12:01 July 26, 2010

    It is Very infortunate that the Embassies and consulates of South Asians have become nothing but the passport offices as they have done nothing for the welfare of her own citizens. If some one is Drunk and sleeping on road is wrong but the reason exists behind every wrong. Usually the sponsors keep passports and warn the employees of dire consequences or Joblessness or low wages or simply expolitations. We can see that no Asian expat can stand against the Local Sponsor as our consulates support locals for Money inflow etc.

    Mushtaq, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 10:46 July 26, 2010

    The country should ban all such firms and agencies who charge money from people to get them here. Only registered emloyment agencies should be allowed to bring manpower after proper job arrangements. For this those firms should charge a nominal fee. In addition to that the people who want to go to another country must thouroghly research the biodata of firm/agency through which they are applying. They should avoid fake organizations and individuals

    Riffat naz, Fujairah, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 10:41 July 26, 2010

    I DONT KNOW WHEN THE SPONSORS WILL BE PUNISHED OR FINED WHO RETAIN THE PASSPORTS OF THEIR EMPLOYEES AND THEN GO OUT OF CONTACT. I HOPE SUMDAY THEY WILL BE ANSWERABLE ..

    KHURAM, SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 10:39 July 26, 2010

    very sad story exploit a workforce that unfortunately exists in the world. Irresponsible employers should be strictly punished and take away their license to operate.

    Zdenka, Dugo Selo, Croatia (Local Name: Hrvatska)

  7. Added 08:42 July 26, 2010

    I believe no one willing to stay like this, the situation made them against their will. Need more help from the social parties.

    Sar, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  8. Added 01:47 July 26, 2010

    These sponsors should be on trial and fined heavily, the guy Mohammad Jalal should report to police or contact the embassy about his matter. the money mentioned above (220,000 taka) is not approximately or any how close to dhs 620, its exact dhs 11,621.

    Al Bengal, chittagong, Bangladesh

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