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23 April 2024

Witchcraft and sorcery cases trebled in 2011

Picture used for illustrative purposes only. (GETTY IMAGES)

By Mohammed Al Sadafy

Witchcraft and sorcery cases in the emirate rose from two in 2010 to six in 2011, according to Lieutenant Colonel Salah Bu Aseebah, director of the Anti-Economic Crime Unit at the Criminal Investigations Department of Dubai Police.

Bu Aseebah said this during the programme ‘Rouh Al Qanoon’ (Spirit of the Law) broadcast by the Noor Dubai radio station and presented on Monday evenings by lawyer Essa bin Haider.

He said such crimes happen either because of the victim’s greed for money or due to his indebtedness.

Bu Aseebah spoke about a number of such frauds, including a case of two Africans who tried to cheat a man by selling him a machine that they claimed can produce dollar currency notes on feeding it with blank white paper. To fool the victim, the fraudsters had pulled out a hundred dollars from the machine after putting white paper into it.

Meanwhile, lawyer Essa bin Haider spoke about the evolution of the crime of witchcraft and sorcery. Earlier, such criminals appeared in tattered clothes and used to target ordinary people. But now, educated people are being targetted with SMS and e-mails claiming that they had won a large sum of money in a lottery and asking the potential victim to send some money to the fraudsters.

He said, in one case, a woman who had marital problems was advised by a friend to go to a man who swindled a large sum of money from her. She realised that she was the victim of a scam only when he tried to touch her.

He said the UAE was among the first countries to include witchcraft and sorcery in the crimes of fraud specified in Article 399 of the Federal Penal Code with a maximum penalty of  imprisonment for a year.

Lt. Colonel Salah Bu Aseebah urged the public to report any attempt to commit such crimes on the toll free phone number 8004888.