Shops miss the point sell­ing knives to­boy

In­ves­ti­ga­tion high­lights FNC mem­ber con­cern

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - By Nawal Al Ramahi @nawal_ramahi

A 15-year-old school­boy was of­fered a range of knives with­out be­ing asked for his age or ID dur­ing a 7DAYS in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the ease at which dan­ger­ous weapons can be pur­chased in Dubai.

The teen was handed var­i­ous blades, rang­ing from short knives to large cer­e­mo­nial swords, in a num­ber of shops.

One shop­keeper even dou­bled the price, from Dhs200 to Dhs400 know­ing that he would be break­ing reg­u­la­tions with the sale - al­beit loose ones en­forced only with fines and con­fis­ca­tions.

The boy was of­fered a se­ries of ra­zor-sharp tools that can be used as weapons, with no ques­tions asked.

7DAYS car­ried out the ex­er­cise af­ter Fed­eral Na­tional Coun­cil (FNC) mem­bers raised the is­sue of teens buy­ing knives and swords, at a re­cent coun­cil meet­ing in the pres­ence of Lt Gen­eral Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Deputy Prime Min­is­ter and Min­is­ter of the In­te­rior.

Ha­mad Al Ra­hoomi, an FNC mem­ber from Dubai, ref­er­enced a se­ries of in­ci­dents in which blades have been used in fights be­tween youths.

FNC mem­bers called for stricter con­trols on the sale of blades.

They also called for a ded­i­cated law to reg­u­late the avail­abil­ity of bladed weapons to young peo­ple. We took our find­ings to Ra­hoomi, who said: “This is why a new law is needed, to pro­hibit this from go­ing on.

“The law should in­clude clauses that limit the sale of items that may be clas­si­fied as bladed weapons to chil­dren. The law should spec­ify what weapons are and cat­a­logue them.”

When we con­fronted the shop staff who were will­ing to sell knives to the boy, most were eva­sive.

One seller at a store in Dubai said they sold to teens “all the time” and sug­gested there should be no con­cern.

None of the five stores we vis­ited asked for proof of age. “We think most peo­ple buy th­ese as sou­venirs, but we don’t know and we don’t ask for ID”, one ad­mit­ted. Shop­pers told 7DAYS that sim­i­lar weapons can be bought in shops in Satwa and Deira. At present, re­tail­ers caught sell­ing knives to chil­dren only face fines and hav­ing their stock con­fis­cated. Al Ra­hoomi and other FNC mem­bers want to see the in­tro­duc­tion a fed­eral law first drafted in 2011, crim­i­nal­is­ing the sale of such weapons. Mo­hammed Lootah, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of the Com­mer­cial Com­pli­ance and Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion sec­tion at the De­part­ment of Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment (DED), which is re­spon­si­ble for reg­u­lat­ing the sales un­der ex­ist­ing rules, said teams do carry out “ran­dom in­spec­tions”. “If any vi­o­la­tion is spot­ted, the goods are con­fis­cated and fines are im­posed on such re­tail­ers,” he added. He did not de­tail the size of fines that can be handed out.

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