One woman beggar was caught hiding between cars in a parking lot. Image Credit: Dubai Police

Dubai: Police in Sharjah were shocked to discover that a woman arrested for begging was actually in the possession of Dh10,000.

Colonel Ibrahim Misbah Al Ajil, director of the Criminal Investigation Department at Sharjah Police, said that five shopkeepers in the vicinity regularly saw the woman begging on the streets, but failed to notify the concerned authorities.

“Whether they are men or women begging on the streets, the public should not show compassion or encourage such type of illegal activities,” Col Al Ajil told the Arabic daily Al Bayan.

Residents that spot beggars were urged to contact Sharjah Police and report them on the hotline number 901.

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Earlier in June, Gulf News reported that 143 beggars were arrested since the beginning of Ramadan.

Police said the number of arrested beggars fell to 24 per cent compared to 189 in 2017. Out of the 143 caught, 56 were women.

Begging in the UAE is a crime and can lead to a Dh5,000 fine and up to three months in prison, according to the anti-begging federal law.

Under the draft law, those who run organised, mafia-like criminal groups of beggars will face a jail term of not less than six months and a fine of not less than Dh100,000.