Teams from Dubai Municipality, GDRFA and Al Awqaf will help Dubai Police keep beggars off the streets this Ramadan. Image Credit: Atiq Ur Rehman/Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Dubai Police recently arrested a beggar with Dh300,000 after he conned people by asking money to build a mosque outside the UAE, officials said on Wednesday.

The Arab beggar, a resident of a Gulf Country, was caught after many people paid him money thinking they are helping to build a mosque.

On Wednesday, Dubai Police warned public not to be fooled by beggars who deploy various tricks to seek their sympathy.

In another incident, police caught three Asians who were collecting money to build a mosque and Dh30,000 cash was recovered from them.

“Most of the beggars were visitors and they come during Ramadan for easy money as they know UAE is a rich country and people here always want to help and sympathise with beggars. We have a team of officers to crackdown on beggars,” Brigadier Mohammad Rashid Bin Sari Al Muhairi, deputy director of Criminal Investigation Department of Dubai Police, said during a press conference in Dubai Police headquarters.

As part of an anti-begging campaign during Ramadan, the police have divided the city into different zones based on the concentration of beggars in an area.

“We will divide the city to green, yellow and red zones. We can send more patrols to the red zone, which means many beggars are spotted in the area. The yellow zone means fewer beggars in the area and green zone means there are rarely any beggars. This system will help crackdown the problem,” he added.

beggars arrested in Dubai since 2016

Teams from Dubai Municipality, General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) Dubai and Al Awqaf will help police who urged people to call 901 if they spot a beggar. This year, the police arrested 232 beggars, including 171 men and 61 women. Last year, the police arrested 653 beggars, including 136 women. Since 2016, Dubai Police have nabbed 1,906 beggars.

Captain Mohammad Shihab, from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai, warned tourist companies to be careful when they issue visas to individuals as many beggars come on visit visa. “We always check with tourist companies to be sure when they apply for visit visas for people. Sometimes we close the company if they have violated the rules,” Captain Mohammad Shihab said.

beggars arrested during Ramadan last year

Last Ramadan police arrested 154 beggars compared to 641 beggars in 2016.

Meanwhile, Brigadier Ahmad Thani Bin Gulaitha, director of Rafaa police station and head of Police Stations Council in Dubai Police, said most of the beggars were Asians who take advantage of the easy money during Ramadan.

“Most of them are fraudsters, they come during Ramadan on visit visa and loiter around mosques. Don’t sympathise with the beggars, instead give your help or money to charity organisations in the country,” Brigadier Bin Gulaita said.

Officers usually check if a beggar really needs money or is just pretending to be poor before punishing the person with one month in jail to be followed with deportation and confiscation of the money.

The officers also warned people against begging on social media. “People should be careful when they receive messages or posts on social networks regarding poor people who need help as most of it is not true or is just another scam.”