Shops miss the point selling knives toboy
Investigation highlights FNC member concern
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.