Dubai: Seven men have been accused of threatening to kill a salesman if he did not repay Dh40,000 that he lost in gambling in cricket.

The seven Pakistani men — five visitors, a tailor and a businessman — who are aged between 25 and 49, were said to have threatened to kill their countryman, M.A., in Pakistan or in Dubai if he failed to repay the bookmaking funds that he lost over a number of cricket matches in October 2012.

The defendants pleaded not guilty and strongly refuted their accusations when they appeared before the Dubai Court of First Instance on Wednesday. “The claimant made several bets on different cricket matches and he lost. He did not pay the gambling amount of Dh40,000… that is why he lodged this unfounded case,” claimed one of the defendants, 39-year-old Z.A., when he defended himself before presiding judge Maher Salama Al Mahdi.

M.A.’s father testified that two Pakistani men walked into his garment shop around 9.30pm and asked about his son.

“I told them that my son was out. They asked me to pay them Dh40,000 otherwise they would kill him. I did not respond… then they left. My attendant came to the shop and I asked him to follow them and see where they went. I saw those two men join a group of four other men and they all walked away. When the attendant returned, he told me that he had identified the tailor, M.I. I called my son and asked him to come to the shop… when he arrived, I told him what happened and he called the police,” claimed the father.

M.A. testified that the incident started when Z.A. phoned him from Pakistan and asked him to repay Dh40,000 otherwise he would kill him.

“He threatened to kill me in my homeland or to send a group of men to kill me in Dubai. Then my father asked me to go to the shop and he told me what happened. When I was heading to the police station to complain, I received another call from Z.A. He warned me over the phone not to complain to the police otherwise he would kill me,” claimed M.A.

Presiding judge Al Mahdi will hand out a judgement on July 31.

Prosecution records have shown that the same suspects will be prosecuted for a similar case on July 22.