The Dubai Public Prosecution. The Dubai Court of First Instance recently heard a case involving two men who were accused of posing as policemen. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Fraudsters impersonating officials in the UAE shall face five years in prison, the UAE Public Prosecution said.

An educational video by UAE Public Prosecution pointed that criminals tend to impersonate policemen or other government officials to cheat their victims to illegally obtain their money or scam them in other ways.

“According to Article 250 of the Federal Penal Code, five years in prison is the punishment for whoever unduly assumes one of the public functions. The same penalty shall apply to whoever interferes with a public function or service, or performs one of its acts or prerequisites, without being competent or authorised to do so, aiming at achieving an illicit objective or to obtain for himself or herself for others any kind of advantage,” said UAE Public Prosecution in a video statement.

Wageh Amin Abdelaziz

According to Wageh Amin Abdelaziz, senior legal adviser at World Center Advocates and Legal Consultants, criminals impersonate people in public sector to scam their victims and illegally take advantage or profit. “Based on the law, they will be punished for a maximum of five years in jail,” Abdelaziz told Gulf News.

However, Abdelaziz pointed that the punishment can be more stringent if the impersonation is connected with other crimes. “If an individual wears an official uniform or military badge to con a victim then he or she shall be punished up to a minimum of one year in jail or a fine of Dh10,000,” he added.

Abdulaziz said that if the person impersonates someone to kidnap, blackmail, assault, commit a robbery or locks up a victim then the punishment can be life imprisonment as per Articles 344, 383 of the UAE Federal Penal Code.

What people should do

Police departments across the UAE have conducted awareness campaigns to counter the problem of impersonators. In December last year, Sharjah Police launched a campaign called ‘Be careful before you fall prey to fraud’ that aimed to spread awareness among all community members about the dangers of police impersonators.

Most of the suspects posed as policemen to rob money, mobile phones and other valuables. They usually targeted people mainly in the industrial areas of Sharjah.

Community members were urged to look for signs that mark a real police officer such as a photo ID card with the person’s name on it. People should look at the police ID when presented by the officer to make sure he is a real officer.

If the person is unsure of the identity of the individual who claims to be from the police, then he or she should call 999 or contact the nearest police station and report the incident.

Pair pose as policemen to kidnap a man in Dubai

The Dubai Court of First Instance recently heard a case involving two Pakistani men who were accused of posing as policemen, kidnapping their countryman and robbing his money.

The 28-year-old Pakistani victim was preparing to sleep at his shared accommodation in the Al Karama area of Dubai when the two defendants, aged 28 and 35, entered the place, asking for him. They posed as policemen and asked him to come with them to the police station. The defendants robbed Dh3,200 and the victim’s mobile phone.

A police patrol later identified the two defendants and arrested them.