UAE authorities seize thousands of ancient coins from smugglers

Gang tried to ship the coins into the country by sea

Thousands of ancient coins have been seized by the UAE authorities. Photo: Twitter screenshot
Thousands of ancient coins have been seized by the UAE authorities. Photo: Twitter screenshot

Thousands of coins dating to the eight century were seized from smugglers, UAE authorities said on Wednesday.

Officials of the Federal Drug Control Department arrested a gang that tried to ship the coins in by sea.

Authorities said 2,056 coins, some more than 1,200 years old, were found on a dhow. They said 55 of them were Greek, and 2,001 dated from 778AD.

More than eight kilograms of drugs and 8.6kg of crystal meth were also seized during the raid.

Officers found the items in boxes and plastic bags hidden under the boat’s deck.

“The UAE is keen on [preserving] historical and world heritage and the safety of society,” Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, wrote in a tweet.

“The efforts of the federal anti-drug men overthrew a gang that attempted to smuggle antiquities, coins and narcotic materials into the country.

“The Ministry of Interior will firmly continue to chase such criminals, and I would like to thank the Emirati community for their constant co-operation.”

The date of the raid and the country from where the items were being brought was not revealed.

UAE law prohibits smuggling of ancient artefacts. Those found guilty can be fined Dh10 million ($2.7m) and jailed for two years.

Updated: June 10, 2021 01:43 PM

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