Dubai: Contrary to the popular saying, beggars can be choosers.
A beggar was recently caught by Dubai Municipality inspectors who was making as much as Dh270,000 per month.
Faisal Al Badiawi, Head of Markets Section at the municipality, said in a statement that 59 beggars were caught during the first three months of 2016.
The "professional" beggars were nabbed as part of a campaign recently carried out by Dubai Municipality in cooperation with Dubai Police.
“Some of the beggars were carrying passports issued with business or tourist visas. In the campaign, we found that the majority of beggars had entered the country legally with a three-month visa, in order to collect as much money as they could during their time here,” he said.
“According to the seizures, we discovered that one beggar was making more than Dh270,000 a month,” he said.
“Through our calculations, we found that the beggar earned an average of almost Dh9,000 per day, which is equivalent to Dh1,500 per hour and a half. But we believe that more money was collected on Fridays, especially if they were standing in front of mosques,” said Al Badiawi.
Local authorities have been carrying out year-long campaigns to combat begging along Dubai’s streets, particularly intensifying them during – and in the run up to – Ramadan.
Gulf News had previously reported that in 2015, Dubai Police arrested 197 beggars during their Ramadan anti-begging campaign, while Sharjah Police had arrested 33.
“Street begging occurs everywhere and, in Sharjah, we take the matter seriously as it ruins the reputation of the country and also affects the security. The presence of beggars in mosques and shopping malls, or any other public area, is not a pleasant image for the country,” said the Sharjah Police official.
To report beggars, residents are urged to call authorities in Dubai on 800-CID (800-243) and in Sharjah on 901 or 06 5632222.