Dubai Police arrest 1,287 illegal street vendors for touting watches, phones and tobacco

Officers urge the public to report vendors and beggars to help to tackle the outlawed trade

Dubai Police arrested hundreds of beggars and more than 1,200 illegal street vendors in six months. Jeff Topping / The National
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Dubai Police arrested 796 beggars and 1,287 illegal street vendors in the first half of 2022.

The vendors were caught selling fake designer watches, phones and clothes. Other products such as water bottles, cigarettes, food and naswar — an outlawed form of chewing tobacco — were also seized.

The campaign to crack down on beggars and illegal vendors was launched by the Criminal Investigation Department.

Police said members of the public used its Police Eye app to file about 12,000 reports, of which 414 were related to begging.

“The campaign aims to reduce the number of beggars and street peddlers who exploit the feelings and sympathy of people,” Dubai Police said in a media release.

“The app allows the public to report suspicious activities in total confidentiality. The service aims to maintain security and reduce crime by encouraging the public to report illegal activities and offences.

“People can also report beggars online or by calling 901. Begging can lead to other crimes such as robbery and pickpocketing and sometimes people use children and the disabled for begging.”

Anyone caught begging in the UAE will be fined Dh5,000 and jailed for three months.

Those operating professional gangs of beggars or recruiting people from outside the country to work as beggars can be jailed for six months and will be fined Dh100,000.

Updated: September 15, 2022, 4:51 AM