With the holy month drawing closer and as residents gear up for Ramadan, Dubai authorities have issued a warning and will launch a campaign to discourage begging in the emirate.

The anti-begging campaign will commence on April 13, 2024. Offenders will be subject to a minimum fine of Dh5,000 and up to three months in prison.

Dubai Police held a press conference at their headquarters in Al Twar where Colonel Saeed Al Qemzi, Director of Wanted Persons Department, said that the department is doing its best to stop the practice of begging.

“Beggars capitalise on the compassion and generosity of people and exploit the charitable sentiments during the holy month of Ramadan. This practice is perceived as negative behaviour that poses a threat to security and well-being of the society,” said Colonel Al Qemzi.

Those who organise begging activities and bring individuals from abroad to engage in it shall be punished with imprisonment for no less than 6 months and a fine of not less than Dh100,000.

The department highlighted a growing trend where individuals exploit social media platforms to encourage begging, falsely claiming to be aiding those in need. The police have said that stern measures will be enforced to address such activities.

According to the Information Technology Crime Law of 2012, article 5, anyone using information technology means to solicit or promote fundraising without an approved license from the competent authority shall be fined not less than Dh250,000 and not more than Dh500,000, or subject to either of these penalties.

Officials urged residents not to give money to beggars and have advised them to use official channels for charity and help. This helps make sure that donations reach the right people and deserving causes through recognised charitable organisations and institutions. The police said that 99 per cent of beggars consider begging as a profession.

Dubai Police have urged the residents to cooperate by reporting to them if they find anyone begging in residential neighbourhoods or in front of shops. “Residents can complain via the service of Dubai Police application or by calling 901,” said Col Al Qemzi.

The police said that many individuals and groups have been found amassing large sums of money by begging. “We have caught and punished over 1,700 beggars from 2020 to 2023. Out of which 487 were females and 1,238 were males,” said Col Al Qemzi.

The police plan to heighten awareness on the issue of begging through various mediums, including panels in residential areas, ATM screens, and 300 display screens across 26 Union Co-op supermarket branches. Additionally, awareness efforts will extend to Friday prayer sermons, with lectures on begging scheduled after each of the five daily prayers.

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