Cash ploys beggar belief
The public has been warned against being duped by fake beggars in the run-up to Ramadan, with some using wheelchairs and fake injuries to garner sympathy from donors. A man dragging around an oxygen mask and pretending to be terminally ill was among the 1,405 people caught seeking cash in 2015, up from 814 the year before. Dubai Police said begging gangs are becoming more creative and sophisticated in their attempts to collect funds, including appeals on social media and WhatsApp. Children posing with fake illnesses or broken bones are among the more established methods used for many years. Colonel Mohammed Rashid Al Muhairi, director of the Tourist Security Department, said: “Beggars always have new ways to con residents in this Holy Month. They are using social media now to get money. “Residents are the first line in the fight against beggars and can alert us by dialling 800 243. Beggars are a disease and must be got rid off.” In one incident, a woman knocked the door of a man and asked for money. He went to fetch his wallet. He returned to find she was gone along with his watch, which had been next to the door. “We arrested her later and we found a large amount of money and many goods in her possession,” Al Muhairi said. “Many beggars have become rich.” Police have previously cited other cases in which ‘beggars’ have been caught staying in five-star hotels. One caught earlier this year was found to be making Dhs9,000 per day.