DUBAI // The amount of illegal alcohol seized in the Jebel Ali area has dropped by more than 50 per cent in the first half of this year, a decline police attributed to their campaign against bootleggers. Officers of the Jebel Ali police station confiscated about 36 tonnes of illegal alcohol compared with about 76 tonnes for the same period of last year. The station seized in total 148 tonnes of illegal alcohol last year, Dubai police statistics showed.
Authorities have placed areas suspected to be used as bases for alcohol traders under constant surveillance and have enlisted the help of security guards working in labour accommodations as part of their efforts to eliminate the distribution problem. They also have co-operated with companies to demolish abandoned buildings and close unrented warehouses that were used by traders. "The reduction of alcohol is a determining factor in reducing serious crimes, such as murder, and fights between workers which might occur because they have lost their consciences," said Lt Col Abdul Qader al Bannai, the director of the Jebel Ali police station.
Serious crimes in the area have dropped by more than 20 per cent this year, a fall Lt Col al Bannai called a direct result of there being less alcohol available. Consuming alcohol is illegal under Sharia law. The Jebel Ali area is home to thousands of workers because many of the city's labour accommodations are there. Alcohol consumption is widespread and gangs who sell it find the practice profitable, which can lead to violence.
Police arrested a 13 member bootlegging gang in January last year after they allegedly kidnapped two members of a rival gang, tortured them, sexually assaulted them and buried them alive in Jebel Ali. "This was the strongest gang and after their arrest, increased security and police presence chased away all the alcohol bootleggers from the area," a Dubai police officer, who did not want to be named, said at the time.