Dubai Police’s efforts over the last year until the first quarter of the this year have resulted in seizing 5.9 million massage cards Image Credit: Gulf News archives

Dubai: Dubai Police on Sunday warned the public against seeking services from unlicensed massage centres, which “pose serious threats to whoever seeks their services”, including falling victim to extortionists.

Brigadier Abdullah Khadem Suroor Al Maasem

Brigadier Abdullah Khadem Suroor Al Maasem, director of the Bur Dubai Police Station and chairman of the Board of Directors of Police Stations, said Dubai Police have launched several campaigns to combat this illegal activity by raising public awareness of the centres’ “harmful services”, tracking down locations and operators of such unlicensed businesses, as well as arresting distributors of massage cards on vehicles.

Cracking down

Brig Al Maasem said Dubai Police’s efforts over the last year until the first quarter of the this year have resulted in disconnecting services of 919 phone numbers found on these cards, seizing 5.9 million massage cards, arresting 879 violators, of which 588 were charged for violating public morals and 309 for printing and distributing massage cards.

Blackmail trap

“Being a front for illegal and criminal activities, unlicensed massage centres deceive victims through fake social media accounts. Once the victim arrives, they found themselves surrounded by a group of African nationals who drag them to an apartment and tie them up to take indecent pictures of them for blackmail,” Brig Al Maasem revealed.

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Raising awareness

The Bur Dubai Police Station director added that this year, they distributed 600 awareness brochures to real estate companies and have also sent text messages. He said the awareness campaign has benefited 8,007 companies and reached 53,816 of their employees.

901 call centre

Brig Al Maasem reaffirmed that ensuring public safety is a shared responsibility between Dubai Police and community members.

“Dial 901 or use ‘Police Eye’ service via Dubai Police smart app to report any suspicious, shady and illegal activities, including these unlicensed centres and their promoters,” he urged.

Brig Al Maasem further noted that licensed massage centres are registered on Dubai Economic and Tourism, and whoever wishes to seek their services can verify that by contacting the concerned entities.