Dubai: The CID patrols arrested 52 beggars during the anti-begging campaign which was launched on May 11, an official said on Thursday.

Major-General Khalil Ebrahim Al Mansouri, Assistant to the Dubai Police Chief for Criminal Investigation Affairs, said the CID had formed police patrols and field teams to cover all areas of Dubai and they are monitoring public places, shopping centres, mosques and residential areas.

“We have more patrols and undercover policemen and policewomen in those areas which helped tackle beggars just in a few days. We caught 52 beggars including 16 who had entered the country illegally. They confessed that they had done so just before Ramadan to practise begging to earn money in this month,” Maj-Gen Al Mansouri said.

He thanked the community for its awareness which helped them tackle the beggars. “People are coming forward more to help us by informing us about beggars so we can arrest them and end the problem,” Maj-Gen Al Mansouri added.

Brigadier Saeed Bin Sulaiman, director of Al Rashidiya police station, said the campaign involve Dubai Municipality, Awqaf and residency authorities as well as security authorities in other emirates.

“We fight the issue of beggars and begging all days of the year, but we focus on Ramadan until the end of Eid. Most of the beggars are people who can work and find a job but they make begging an occupation — it is a cheap way to earn money,” Brigadier Bin Sulaiman said.

He said that most of the 52 beggars were Asian, including 10 women.

According to records, last Ramadan, police arrested 614 beggars compared to 312 beggars in Ramadan in 2015.

Officers usually check if a beggar really needs money or is just pretending to be poor before punishing the person with one month in jail to be followed by deportation and confiscation of the money [he earned through begging].