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Dubai Police seized more than 400,000 fake surgical masks and 25,000 fake gloves last year. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Dubai Police seized more than 400,000 fake surgical masks and 25,000 fake gloves last year as criminals wanted to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic, an official said.

According to Brigadier Jamal Salem Al Jallaf, Director of Criminal Investigation Department at Dubai police, the force foiled new trends in crime related to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as promoting fake medical products like masks and gloves. “Dubai Police focused on people who were promoting fake medical products last year. We seized more than 400,000 surgical masks, 25,000 gloves, 1,000 goggles and other protective uniforms. All these were manufactured at unknown places,” said Brig. Al Jallaf. The suspects were promoting fake medical products through social media amid the precautionary measures put in place during the national sterilisation programme in the UAE in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Police seized the fake products from villas as they were being repackaged for online sale. Suspects took advantage of people’s fear and need for medical products during the early days of the pandemic,” he added.

Meanwhile, Colonel Omar Bin Hamad, Director of Anti-Economic Crimes Department at Dubai Police, said that his department recorded 250 cases last year and arrested 320 suspects for different economic crimes worth Dh2.6 billion. “Despite the exceptional times during the pandemic, the department seized 30,000 fake luxury watches valued at Dh1.2 billion. We arrested the gang that had hidden the watches in two apartments,” Col Bin Hamad said. “It is a message to criminals that Dubai Police, in collaboration with Dubai Economic Department, won’t tolerate promotion of fake products.”

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Col Bin Hamad said that Dubai will always be a safe investment oasis for brands and big companies who spend billions in their industries.