UAE Public Prosecution issues a warning against begging saying that begging can lead one to jail and hefty fine. Photo for illustrative purpose only Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News Archives

Abu Dhabi: As Ramadan begins in the UAE, the Public Prosecution has issued warning against begging saying that begging can lead one to jail and hefty fine.

Under Article 475 of Federal Decree-Law No. 31 of 2021 Promulgating Penal Code, begging is a punishable offence with a jail sentence of up to three months and a fine of not less than Dh5,000.

The Public Prosecution has emphasised that begging in any manner or way is strictly prohibited and individuals caught begging will be prosecuted.

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The warning also highlighted that the crime of begging will be considered an aggravating circumstance if a beggar appears healthy or has an apparent source of living, fakes injuries or permanent disabilities, pretends to provide a service to a third party, or uses any other way of deception and fraud to gain sympathy.

Earlier last week, Dubai Police launched its annual anti-begging campaign to raise awareness of the illegal practice, which noticeably grows during Ramadan.

During a press conference at the Dubai Police Headquarters last week, Brigadier Saeed Suhail Al Ayali, Deputy Director of the General Department of Criminal Investigation for Administration and Control Affairs, revealed that 604 individuals, including 382 beggars and 222 street peddlers, were arrested during last year’s Ramadan.

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Also last during Ramadan, Dubai Police received 2,235 reports related to begging, including 1,956 reports through the (901) call centre and 279 via the ‘Police Eye’ service.

Brigadier Al Ayali stressed that begging is a crime that infiltrates society and usually increases during Ramadan, and the areas that beggars frequent most during the holy month are usually mosques, markets, residential neighbourhoods, Ramadan tents, and parking lots.

He warned residents not to sympathise or be deceived by beggars and said that such illegal acts can lead to other crimes such as burglary and exploitation of vulnerable groups.