Crown Prince game hunter 'stole houbara'

A man who stole a houbara bustard, Dh5,000, an iPad and a BlackBerry from Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, the Crown Prince of Dubai, has been charged with theft, a court heard today.

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DUBAI // A 19-year-old game hunter stole a houbara bustard, Dh5,000 in cash, an iPad and a BlackBerry smartphone from the farm of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, the Crown Prince of Dubai, a court heard yesterday.

Prosecutors told the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance that SS, from Pakistan, allegedly stole the bird from Sheikh Hamdan's farm on November 14. A farm hand noticed the bird was missing the following day and contacted the farm manager, prosecutors say.

"The worker asked me if I had requested the houbara," said AB, the 33-year-old Emirati who is responsible for the farm. "I said no, and he then told me that SS had come and got the bird and told him that, 'you requested it'. "

When confronted with the allegations, SS initially denied that he had taken the bird from its cage. Prosecutors say that SS confessed that he had taken the bird after police were called. He said he had given the houbara bustard, which is part of an endangered species, to a man identified as "Saed".

Prosecutors say SS also told police that he stole the cash, the iPad and the Blackberry, and confessed that he had stolen several birds from the farm in the past. A verdict is expected on February 8.