Dubai Customs seize 68kg of ‘black magic’ contraband, including bones and blood

Talismans, amulets and animal skin were also found on smugglers who sell or trade such objects

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Dubai Customs foiled 35 attempts in the past three years to import more than 68 kilograms of "black magic" items at Dubai International Airport.

Officers seized items linked to witchcraft and sorcery, such as talismans, amulets, animal skins, bones and blood, between 2018 and 2020.

“Items that could be associated with sorcery or black magic are prohibited under a decree by the GCC Financial and Economic Cooperation Committee,” said Khalid Ahmad, director of passengers operations at Dubai Customs.

Customs officers depend primarily on their skills in reading body language to detect who might be carrying illegal items

In seizures that totalled 68.4kg, officers confiscated talismans, amulets, knives, needles, vials of animal blood and other liquids, animal skins, hair and bones, drawings, pieces of metal, rings and books of magic techniques.

“Attempts to bring these prohibited materials into the country in various ways are considered smuggling, in accordance with the unified customs law,” Mr Ahmad said.

He said an African woman who was caught in 2018 carrying 10.8kg of black magic items was also detected a year later trying to smuggle 8.4kg of similar objects and books.

Mr Ahmad said well-trained customs officers depend primarily on their skills in reading body language to detect who might be carrying such items, before screening and manually checking luggage.

“Training happens with help from the Department of Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities in Dubai,” he said.

“Once confiscated, items are referred to relevant authorities to be dealt with.”

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 prison and/or fines.

A total of 47.6kg of items associated with witchcraft were seized in 2018.

The following year, 12.9kg of items were confiscated from passengers, while 7.9kg of materials was seized in 2020.

Dubai Customs said its efforts in spreading awareness about carrying these items has helped bring down the number of smuggling attempts.