A traveller was caught by customs officials attempting to smuggle “black magic” contraband into Dubai.
The man had the illicit items — which included talismans, amulets, rings, belts and bracelets made from animal skin — tied to his waist and hidden under his clothing after landing at Dubai International Airport.
Customs inspectors grew suspicious of the man's behaviour and noticed a bulge around his stomach.
They uncovered the items, linked to the practice of witchcraft and sorcery, after a search.
“He was passing the customs point and inspectors suspected the traveller as he was confused and there was a swelling in his waist area,” said Khalid Ahmed, director of passengers operations at Dubai Customs.
The man, who authorities said is from an unspecified African country, was referred to Dubai Police for investigation.
The incident took place this month.
Practicing black magic or attempting to smuggle sorcery items is illegal under Article 316 of the UAE’s Penal Code. People caught smuggling black magic objects are subject to prison and/or fines.
Dubai Customs said that more than 68 kilograms of black magic items were seized at Dubai International Airport between 2018 and 2020.
Other items previously confiscated by customs officers included knives, worry beads, magic books, bags containing fish skeletons, bones and blood.
Dubai Customs said its efforts in spreading awareness about carrying these items has helped to reduce the number of smuggling attempts.
“Items that could be associated with sorcery or black magic are prohibited under a decree by the GCC Financial and Economic Co-operation Committee,” Mr Ahmed said.
“The inspector is the first line of defence to protect society from dangerous and threatening items. The inspectors are professional in reading the body language after specialised training courses and using advanced equipment,” he said.