Wrath, envy and jealousy with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm fuelled by business rivalry, and behaviour further influenced by the intoxication of alcohol, has left four Sri Lankan youth languishing in remand custody in Dubai.
The Sri Lankan expatriate population of Bur Dubai got a rude awakening last week when four machete and pole wielding drunken goons targeted a fellow Sri Lankan restaurant owner and competitor who had recently opened an outlet in Al Rafaa area.
A Sri Lankan restaurant named ‘Pasindu Lanka’ and a hair dressing saloon named ‘Colombo Super Saloon’ which opened its doors recently to serve the community have been largely accepted and patronised by all except the owners of another Sri Lankan restaurant that has been in operation in the vicinity for the past 15 years.
An employee of the rival and three of his accomplices, set upon their competitor who was unfazed by previous threats to wind up their business and start up elsewhere.
The knife attack which disturbed this peaceful shopping area of Bur Dubai was like something out of a Hollywood action movie.
The planned attack lasted only a matter of minutes but left a lifelong scar on the saloon owner, who had three fingers sliced out of which two may never function again.
He was felled a thundering blow to his head which required a further eight stitches and had to undergo a four-hour surgery at the Rashid Hospital to repair the injury to his fingers which required 70 stitches.
Whilst the attack was targeted at the owner of the restaurant and one of his workers, Nishanka the owner of the saloon who was nearby had attempted to stop the goons from mauling the restaurant owner. In an attempt to stop the machete wielding thugs he extended his hand to prevent the machete from hitting the Samantha the owner of Pasindu Lanka Restaurant.
“Samantha and myself were chatting outside our business premises when four youth stormed on us with machetes and poles. When I saw the four advancing towards us. I knew they were trying to set upon Samantha as he was their direct competitor,” said Nishanka recalling the incident.
“In the recent past one of the attackers had been hurling threats and insults since Pasindu Lanka Restaurant has gained popularity and was eating into their business,” he said.
“When Sampath (the alleged assailant) lifted the knife and struck Samantha, I instinctively obstructed the blow by extending my left hand. Little did I realise that I would have three of my fingers sliced which was to be followed by a severe blow to my head with a pole that had me dazed and required eight stitches,” said Nishanka describing the attack.
Nimal an employee of Pasindu Lanka Restaurant who stepped out to stop this attack also received a blow to his head which required 16 stitches.
The entire episode may have taken just a few minutes and the attackers dispersed swiftly. Whilst one of them took cover and hid at the rival restaurant, the other three tried to escape using the nearby abra at the creek.
However, the timely intervention of the Al Rafaa police had all four culprits arrested in under an hour and they eventually confessed to their crimes.
“As a law abiding residents of this beautiful country, it is sad and depressing that some do not respect the law of this land where we live and work here so peacefully. It is our duty as expatriates to extend the courtesy to the people of UAE by living and being respectful of the laws,” said Pasindu Lanka Restaurant owner.
The Sri Lankan consulate in Dubai was closed on account of the Sinhala and Tamil New Year and no official was available for comment on this incident.