Abdullah Al Hosani’s SUV that was targeted by the assailant in London’s Times Square on March 25. Image Credit: Courtesy: Twitter/Ahmad Al Rashed

Dubai: Emiratis studying in the UK have been given a one-week grace period to bring their UAE-registered vehicles back to the country, the UAE’s ambassador to the UK told Gulf News on Saturday.

Sulaiman Al Mazroui (pictured), speaking to Gulf News over the phone from London, said Emirati students in the UK also have an option to change the licence plate number to a UK registered one, so they can continue to drive their cars in the UK.

The UK is home to over 3,000 UAE students.

The decision, which came into immediate effect, follows an attack on Abdullah Al Hosani, a 31-year-old Emirati student in London, last Sunday, in which his car was also vandalised. It is not rare for students from the UAE and the Gulf countries to take their cars with them to the UK. The cars are easily identifiable as belonging to a Gulf owner because of their distinctive number plates.

Al Hosani’s Mercedes SUV was not the only one targeted — a number of other Gulf-owned luxury vehicles were also defaced with spray paint, with slogans of ‘War’ vandalised on them.

On Saturday, the UAE ambassador said there is no need to attract attention as the vehicles might be targeted by thieves.

The ban pertains to Emirati students who have been studying in the UK for long periods. Al Mazroui added that at a later stage, the ban will cover other categories as well.

He said Emirati students enrolled at British universities have been informed about the decision.

Al Mazroui said: “The UAE Embassy in the UK places a top priority to maintain the safety of its citizens, who either visit the UK for medical reasons, tourism or students on scholarship.”

Al Mazroui pointed out that London is a global and safe city, offering treatment, studies, tourism and business opportunities, drawing visitors from around the world. However, “I would like to advise citizens to be careful in some public places”, Al Mazroui said.

He added that the embassy is following up on the case of the assault on Al Hosani, pointing out that police in London have taken necessary actions against the assailant and referred the case to the public prosecution.

Al Hosani was attacked last week by Adnan Musa, a 24-year-old Iraqi national, who sprayed paint on his SUV near Knightsbridge. The aggressor threatened Al Hosani saying “I will kill you”, before spraying the word “War” on his car.

He and other defendants appeared before Westminster Court facing three counts of charges, which involve physical assault, racially motivated aggression and possession of drugs.