Almost 80,000 bounced cheque cases in Dubai last year, police say
But while there were 79,525 cases last year compared with 68,707 in 2012, the value of the bounced cheques decreased from Dh12.2bn in 2012 and Dh14.6bn in 2011.
Police said there had been Dh2.23bn worth of bad cheques in the first quarter of this year.
Col Abdullah Surour, director of Al Barsha Police Station, said that people should always ensure they were able to pay the amount cheques were made out for on time.
"Dubai Police wants to make sure people and companies understand that writing a cheque is simply a monetary transaction and not a guarantee that the money will eventually be paid," he said.
"In 2009, there were 65,542 cases of bounced cheques. In 2010, there were 81,203 cases and in 2011 there were 69,054 cases."
Col Surour said that the issue of bad cheques had become a societal problem.
"Young people, both citizens and residents, are going to prison over issuing bad cheques - there are a large number of young people in jail for this reason," he said. "It is not only young men anymore but also women, which means this has become a social phenomena."
Col Surour said that most cases of bounced cheques involve people between the ages of 18 and 35.
"In the years 2011, 2012 and 2013, there were 110,554 people between the ages of 18 and 35 who have issued at least one bad cheque," he said, adding that in the same three years, the numbers were 85,363 for those between the ages of 36 and 53 and 4,589 for those between 54 and 71.
Dubai Police figures showed that, of the 110,554 people aged 18 and 35, less than 12,000 were Emiratis.
Col Mohamad Al Razooqi, deputy director of the General Department of Criminal Investigation for Police Station Affairs, said that those whose cheques bounced were given a one-month grace period before their cases were transferred to public prosecution.
"Once the police is notified that a cheque has bounced, we call the person who has issued the cheque to say that he or she has one month to pay the debt before the case is transferred to public prosecution," he said, adding that in most cases the person is sent to prison until they can pay off the debt.
Of the 79,525 cases last year, 20,046 were resolved before they were transferred to prosecutors. Of the 68,707 cases in 2012, 20,512 were resolved before prosecutors intervened.
Dubai Police launched a two-week campaign on Tuesday to raise awareness about the illegality of intentionally issuing bad cheques.
"We want to shed light on this issue for the next couple of weeks as part of Dubai Police's efforts to implement the strategy of safety and security," said Col Al Razooqi.
Meanwhile, Maj Gen Khalil Ibrahim Al Mansouri, assistant to the chief commander at the Criminal Investigation department, said that the issue posed a danger to the economy and to society.
"Dubai Police wants to look out for the best interest of the country and the people living in it," he said. "Issuing bad cheques can lead to jail time, more debt and even break up families, and we want to make sure to shed light on this matter."
Published: June 24, 2014 04:00 AM