UAE,June 10: Promoting herself on social media as a victim of a failed marriage, a woman took advantage of residents’ generosity and made $50,000 (Dh184,000) in just 17 days, a Dubai Police official has said. This came as the police revealed that they had arrested 128 beggars during Ramadan.
Brigadier Jamal Salem Al Jallaf, director of the Dubai Police’s criminal investigation department (CID), said the woman, "a foreign national", created accounts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to beg for living expenses "to raise her children". "Her husband, a GCC national, lodged a complaint on the Dubai Police’s eCrime platform about his wife’s actions. Investigations revealed that the woman asked people for help in raising her children, who actually have been living with the husband for many years. She published images of her kids to attract Good Samaritans on social media.
"The husband realised his children’s photos were being used for begging after several relatives and friends called to check with him. Defaming children and harming their reputation, the woman managed to earn $50,000 in 17 days of begging on social media," the officer said.
Brig Al Jallaf urged people to not sympathise with beggars on the streets or on social media. "Begging via online channels is a crime that is being dealt with by the Dubai Police through the eCrime platform. People seek help by pretending to have a disease or disability, or by showcasing apparent poverty to exploit people’s generosity."
He added that 128 beggars - 85 males and 43 females - were arrested during Ramadan. "This includes 108 visitors, 19 residents and one GCC national. The total money confiscated from them was over Dh38,000."
Captain Abdullah Al Shehhi, deputy director of the Dubai Police’s cyber crime department, said begging via online channels is punishable with imprisonment and/or a fine of between Dh250,000 to Dh50,000.
Begging: A punishable offence
>3-month jail, Dh5,000 fine for begging
>6-month jail, Dh100,000 fine for organised begging. Same applies to bringing people to UAE specifically for begging