Man accused of smuggling snake into Dubai in 'black magic' plot

Traveller found with hidden contraband by customs officers at airport

A piece of animal skin covered with symbols was found by customs officials. Photo: Dubai Customs
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A traveller has been arrested on suspicion of smuggling "black magic" contraband into Dubai, including a live snake stashed inside a plastic bag.

The man had the illicit items, which also included a monkey's hand, a talisman, eggs wrapped with cotton and a dead bird, hidden in his bag after landing at Dubai International Airport Terminal 1.

Customs inspectors grew suspicious of the man's behaviour and searched his bag. They uncovered items linked to the practice of witchcraft and sorcery.

"Inspectors found a snake inside a plastic bag that was wrapped and concealed between the clothes," said Khalid Ahmed, senior manager of Terminal 1 at the passenger operations department at Dubai Customs.

"Inspectors also found the hand of a monkey, a dead bird, eggs, pieces of paper and talismans."

A piece of animal skin with unusual symbols was also discovered, the official said.

The items were transferred to Dubai's Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department and Islamic Department, which confirmed the items were to be used for black magic.

The man, who authorities said is from an African country, was referred to Dubai Police for investigation.

The incident took place last week.

Practising 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 either prison terms or fines.

“We are aware of the danger of using such items in black magic and fooling others,” Mr Ahmed said.

“Items that could be associated with sorcery or black magic are prohibited. All travellers’ bags go through X-ray.”

Other items previously confiscated by customs officers included metal pieces, animal skins, black magic books, worry beads, bags containing fish skeletons, rings, nails, bones and blood.

Dubai Customs said more than 68kg of black magic items were seized at Dubai International Airport between 2018 and 2020.

Updated: March 12, 2024, 9:28 AM