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21 February 2024

Scamsters use Dubai Police’s zero tolerance towards DUI to extort Dh20,000

By Mohammad El Sadafy

Dubai Police source has confirmed to Emirates 24|7 that a new scam is doing the rounds in the emirate.

According to a top Dubai Police source, the latest con involves targeting visitors to restaurants, pubs or nightclubs.

“According to complaints we have received, these swindlers keep a watch on who is drinking how much and if they drive away from the club or bar.

“The professional swindlers track the driver who is already under the influence of alcohol and at an appropriate circumstance collide with the car.

“They manage the collision in such a professional manner that the damage to both cars is never major.

“The conmen generally use a luxury car, like a Range Rover.

“Then the driver of the luxury car is always accompanied by another person. A good cop, bad cop routine follows, where one is angry and one tries to remain calm as they approach the victim.

“The driver then accuses the victim of drinking and driving and asks him for compensation for the car or that he is going to call the police,” the police source explains.

What happens next is, given Dubai Police’s zero tolerance towards drinking under the influence – jail, fines, and black points - the victim chooses the ‘compensation’ option.

The con then sets in. The compensation demanded is never less than Dh20,000.

“The payment varies from victim to victim and there have been instances when those entrapped have paid out in installments,” the police source says. 

Always take down the plate number

The Dubai Police source said the CID of Dubai Police has arrested two persons from a GCC country so far in such cases and they have been tried on charges of fraud and extortion.

However, the police officer stressed the seriousness of driving a car under the influence of alcohol as the primary problem.

“It is clear the criminals recognise the strict penalties of Dubai Police against those who are driving under the influence of alcohol.”

However, he also called on all exposed to such types of fraud to write down the fraudsters’ cars plate number and inform the police immediately.

He explained that the difficulty in such crimes is the lack of conclusive evidence, where perpetrators have in the past alleged that cheque given to them as ‘compensation’, was issued for business purposes. 

No mercy for driving under the influence Colonel Saif Mohair, Deputy Director, Dubai Traffic Department, says “The law does not distinguish between the perpetrator and the victim in the case where the victim was driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol.”

He added the law will not forgive both of the perpetrators of the scam and victim.

He pointed out the penalty against those who are driving under the influence of alcohol according to the traffic law is imprisonment for not less than one month, a fine Dh20,000 and 24 black points.

“The vehicle is impounded for two months and driving license suspended for 3 months the first time, 6 months the second time and a year the third time.”

He also added for the third time the violator will be subject to a new driving test. 

Sharjah and Northern Emirates

Colonel Abdullah Sultan Al Khayal, Director of Media and Public relations at Sharjah Police says that the big mistake committed by victims is that they do not write the number of the car.

He advised victims to take down the plate number of the fraudsters’ car and inform the police immediately.

Colonel Al Khayal said similar incident occurred in one of the Northern Emirates a year ago as the fraudsters were keen on fabricating a traffic accident.

He added: “They made sure their car was rammed by pressing the brake suddenly.”