Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Begging is illegal in Dubai, but just so we’re clear, these are not your average beggars.
They are professional or smart beggars who target people who “look rich” with a well-rehearsed heart-wrenching story, often involving their families who are either sleeping on the streets or living in a war torn region and in need of urgent assistance. But what really sets these beggars apart is the fact that they don’t settle for the usual Dh10 (Approx. Shs10,000) or even Dh100 (Approx. Shs100,000) handouts.
They ask for considerable amounts, like Dh1000 (Aprox.Shs1 million) or more, and some people actually give it to them out of pity. “I used to give money to such people in the beginning.
Later I realised that this has become a phenomenon and ignored their stories,” Nawal Al Naqbi, a resident of Dubai, says.
In 2016, police nabbed one beggar who was making more than Dh270,000 (Approx. Shs270 million) a month. He, like most other smart beggars in the city, was a “tourist” with a valid three-month visa. Those caught begging in Dubai or other UAE cities risk jail time and deportation.