Dubai: When Sharjah Police arrested a woman for begging, little did they expect to find her carrying Dh10,000 in cash.

Colonel Ebrahim Misbah Al Ajil, director of the Criminal Investigation Department at Sharjah Police, said five shopkeepers in the vicinity regularly saw the woman begging on the streets, but failed to notify authorities. “The public should not show compassion or encourage such illegal activities,” Col Al Ajil told an Arabic daily.

Begging is a crime in the UAE and can lead to a Dh5,000 fine and up to three months in prison. Under the draft law, those who run organised begging rackets face a jail term of not less than six months and a fine of not less than Dh100,000.

Earlier in June, Gulf News reported that 143 beggars, including 56 women, were arrested in Sharjah since the beginning of Ramadan. This was a 24 per cent decline compared to 189 beggars arrested in 2017.

Residents are urged to report beggars on the hotline number 901.