Beggars are using social media to spread word of their ‘sufferings’ and seek money. According to a senior police official they are using WhatsApp and Instagram to evoke sympathy from residents.
Colonel Mohammed Rashid Al Muhairi, Director-General, Department of Tourism, Dubai Police, said, beggars are found to be sending messages on mobiles and requesting the receivers to forward it to their contacts.
He said Dubai Police will launch a campaign during Ramadan to end this practice and those caught will be jailed for a month and deported.
He said police nabbed a minibus full of beggars who were going to be stationed in different locations in the emirate. Col. Al Muhairi was speaking at a press conference to announce the annual campaign during the holy month.
Meanwhile, Colonel Jamal Al Shamsi, Director of Anti-Begging Department, said the campaign will be carried out in cooperation with Dubai Municipality, General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners' Affairs, Department of Awqaf and Charitable Activities in Dubai.
Col Al Shamsi also said that the current laws pertaining to beggars and begging are being studied and a proposal of amendments is being formulated.
The anti-begging campaign launched in 2009 has so far resulted in the arrest of 4,316 beggars. Of these, 1,237 were arrested during Ramadan.
Last year, police arrested 814 beggars, as compared to 780 in 2013 and 642 in 2012.
And since the beginning of this year, 180 beggars - 141 men and 39 women - have been nabbed.
Most of them were caught outside shops and mosques and residential areas like Al Mamzar and Jumeirah.
Some beggars come to the UAE on visit or business visas specifically to beg, according to police officials.
Col. Al Shamsi urged public to inform police about beggars on its hotline 800-243.