Following further investigation into the allegations of a kidnapping attempt on its premises last week, the Mall of the Emirates has denied such an incident occurred.
The statement was issued following an examination of the close circuit television (CCTV) footage of the parking area, where the incident allegedly occurred as reported in a security alert that was issued by a Dubai school on its Facebook page at the request of the parent involved.
Majid Al Futtaim, which operates the mall, further clarified the situation in detail, saying: “In reference to recent media speculation of an alleged incident involving the attempted abduction of a young child at Mall of the Emirates on the 14th January 2014, we can categorically state that no such incident occurred.”
The statement described a case of a misunderstanding that was brought on with a “distressed” child that was assisted by a couple in locating its parent.
It continued: “The facts of the matter are that a man and a woman stopped to assist a clearly distressed child that they believed had become lost in the mall.
“The couple attempted to help the child find its parent(s) and fortunately within moments they found the mother of the child close by and the situation had resolved itself very quickly.”
The mall representative also stated that to their “firm understanding,” no attempt was made to contact the mall security or the police at the time.
“We further understand that some time afterwards the mother called mall management to raise a complaint and the police was informed; however, no formal complaint was lodged or pursued by the family,” the statement clarified, adding: “The safety of our customers is our highest priority and we take these matters very seriously.
“Accordingly, when mall management was approached, every assistance was rendered to the family and we conducted our own investigation of the alleged incident.
“Our review of the malls’ security tapes clearly substantiate the facts as we have detailed above.”
Last week, details of an alleged kidnap attempt were highlighted in a Facebook post by the Jebel Ali Primary School at the request of the family involved, which identified a mystery ‘blonde woman’s’ involvement and requested parents to warn their children of ‘stranger danger’.
The post, which has been removed since, stated: ‘Dear Parents, unfortunately, there was an incident on 14 January 2014 involving a Jebel Ali student who was almost abducted from the Ductac area of Mall of the Emirates.
“The incident has been reported to Dubai police, however, please be aware a blonde woman was involved.”
The post, which has been signed off by Ann Jones, the Acting Headteacher of JAPS, added: “Please reiterate to your children about ‘stranger danger’.”
Jones spoke to Emirates 24|7 earlier, saying: “The parent involved wishes to remain anonymous but felt the need to inform the school and the community at large to remain vigilant.”
With parents concerned whether the incident occurred during a school trip, Jones further clarified: “No, the school has no involvement in the incident and did not occur during any off-site activities. We have been told the authorities are involved.”