Police in Ajman will be stepping up patrols near mosques during Ramadan to safeguard worshippers from beggars aiming to take advantage of the generous spirit of the holy month.
Incidents of begging traditionally surge in Ramadan, with many tricksters flying into the UAE on visit visas in a bid to profit out of the goodwill of the public.
Police have repeatedly urged members of the public not to give money to street beggars and instead provide funds for reputable charities in the country.
Lieutenant Colonel Ahmad Saeed Al Nuaimi, head of criminal investigations at Ajman Police, said extra officers will be drafted in during Taraweeh, which are evening prayers held throughout Ramadan.
“We will intensify efforts to combat beggars through a wide spread of officers near malls, shopping centres, banks, mosques, and some residential areas,” said Lt Col Al Nuaimi.
“We will also launch awareness campaigns to educate people to refrain from helping beggars and to instead offer donations to charities,” he said.
Last year, Judge Ayman Abdul Hakam, who runs Dubai's One Day Court, said he has heard cases of beggars in markets caught with tens of thousands of dirhams.
“I have seen Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Indians, Egyptians and more, but lately I've noticed an increase in the number of Saudi nationals who come before me charged with begging," he said.
The judge recalled one notable case was of a 58-year-old Iraqi who was seen walking around Dubai's markets, dropping into shops to ask customers and owners for money. He was arrested in the Naif area of Deira.
When police searched him, he was found with Dh90,500 in cash.
Last year, the Federal National Council agreed a draft law to punish individuals found to be running networks of beggars.
The legislation includes a minimum jail term of six months and a fine of at least Dh100,000.
Individual beggars will spend up to three months in jail and pay at least a Dh5,000 fine.
Additional police patrols will also be deployed on the roads of Ajman to ensure a smooth flow of traffic during the holy month, particularly during iftar and suhoor periods when more people will be travelling to engagements.
“Traffic patrols will be intensified around Iftar time when some people tend to speed to make it home on time,” said Lieutenant Colonel Saif Abdullah Al Falasi, head of traffic patrols at Ajman Police.