Sharjah Police has classified begging as financial fraud that affects the safety and security of residents in the emirate and has launched an awareness campaign warning people to be cautious against 'salaried' beggars exploiting sentiments during Ramadan.
As part of the awareness campaign ('Begging is a crime and giving is a responsibility'), the authority shared a video aimed at curbing begging during the holy month. Sharjah Police stated that community safety is the responsibility of all and urged the residents to report beggars to become partners in combating crimes.
Brig Gen Ibrahim Al Ajel, Deputy Director of the police operation department, said that a large number of beggars had entered the country on visit visas to take advantage of the holy month of Ramadan. Many have been arrested, and quite a few are women from neighbouring Arab countries. Some even live on valid residence visas in the country with their families.
Beggars who were taken into custody have confessed that they were brought in by tourist companies based in Dubai and Sharjah. They were 'hired' by these companies to beg for money, for which they would be paid a monthly salary.
According to authorities, this is like any private enterprise. The companies have been smart enough to bring in women and people with special needs to evoke sympathy, especially during a month when people want to do good deeds and perform charity.
“On paper, they are all tourists. Their handicapped situation is exploited to the hilt,” said the official.
He said the police were working hard to curb this phenomenon and that the general public should cooperate with the police to help control the menace in Sharjah and the others emirates.
According to Federal Decree-Law No. 31 of 2021, any beggar that falls under these categories will be strictly penalised:
Beggars could face up to three months in prison and will be fined at least Dh5,000.
Speaking to Khaleej Times, Brigadier General Arif bin Hudaib, Director of the Media and Public Relations Department at Sharjah Police, said that the force is keen to intensify awareness-raising media campaigns during the holy month, given the rise of crime such as the spread of beggars and street vendors in residential places and commercial centres who take advantage of the month and exploit people's emotions to make money easy money.
Therefore, Sharjah police considered begging as financial fraud punishable by law. The policy requires the public's cooperation to combat this crime, increasing during the holy month of Ramadan. The police educate the public about the danger of sympathising with beggars, who are mostly visitors.
Donate to charities
Brigadier General bin Hudaib explained that there are charitable associations and institutions officially approved by the state and community members need to donate and help the needy through them. “The donation to approved charity would limit the spread of crimes committed by beggars,“ he stressed.
Lt Col Jassim Muhammad bin Talea, head of the Sharjah Police's Control Committee for Beggars and Street Vendors, added that the campaign is a continuation of the leadership's efforts to curb illegal practices, which are active in certain seasons and are concentrated near commercial and residential areas and mosques.
He stressed that the security teams and patrols are deployed in various parts of the emirate to monitor the activities of the beggars and arrest them.
He called on community members to cooperate with the police in the event of monitoring any cases of beggary and to report immediately via the toll-free number (901) or (80040) or through the "guard" service available through the Sharjah Police websites.
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