Dubai: Beggars in Dubai are going electronic, with most of them resorting to mobile messaging app WhatsApp to spread word of their ‘suffering and need’, reported Khaleej Times.
Beggars are also known to use children to evoke sympathy from residents as the police caught 13 children begging last year.
According to the newspaper, the Dubai Police will launch a campaign in Ramadan to end the practice “once and for all”. A senior police official said those caught begging will be jailed for a month and deported. The police will also seize the money they make from begging.
Colonel Mohammed Rashid Abdullah Al Muhairi, Director of Tourist Police, said during a Press conference that “many people” come to Dubai to beg.
Colonel Jamal Al Shamsi, Director of the Anti-Begging Department, said the current laws pertaining to beggars and begging are being studied and a proposal of amendments is being formulated.
The police’s anti-begging campaign has resulted in the arrest of 4,316 beggars since it was launched in 2009. Of these, 1,237 were arrested during Ramadan.
Last year, the police arrested 814 beggars, as compared to 780 arrested in 2013 and 642 in 2012. Col Al Shamsi attributed the increase in the arrest of beggars to cooperation of the residents with the police.
Since the beginning of this year, the police have arrested 180 beggars — 141 men and 39 women. Most of them were found outside commercial establishments and mosques, and residential areas like Al Mamzar and Jumeirah.
Some beggars come to the UAE on visit or business visas specifically for begging.
Most of the beggars caught were Asians or Arabs.
Col Al Shamsi said the General Department of Criminal Investigation receives leads from the public about beggars on its hotline 800-243.
He said the genuinely needy will be assisted by the police in coordination with the Dubai Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department (IACAD).