BUSKER BUSTED FOR BEGGING IN DUBAI
Busker is arrested by police in Dubai
A tourist who was playing his guitar for money in a Dubai market has been arrested and charged with begging.
The Frenchman, 27, was questioned and detained by police on November 1, Dubai Court of First Instance heard yesterday.
He was playing an Arabic-style oud guitar in Deira’s Gold Souk and had a blanket on the ground onto which passers-by were dropping money.
Prosecutors said a police patrol was in the area about 10.30am and spotted what was happening.
Dubai Police said that they found a large amount of cash on the blanket when they arrested the man.
The tourist claimed that he did not know he was breaking the law but admitted to the charge.
He testified: “I was playing music and put a blanket on the floor, where people would place whatever amounts of money they decide to pay me for enjoying the music I’m playing. Then the police came and arrested me.
“I have been travelling around the world and played music in public in return for money.” He added: “I don’t ask people for money directly, I just place a piece of cloth on the floor and then I play, if they like it they pay then I take the money.” The defendant, who said he was physically fit and suffers no health issues, said he sometimes sings too. He was sentenced to 15 days in jail to be followed by deportation. Dubai criminal lawyer Ali Musabeh told 7DAYS that busking is banned under antibegging laws. He said: “I understand this is fine in European and other countries but here in the UAE it’s illegal and comes under laws designed to deal with begging.” Musabeh said outdoor street performing is only permitted if part of an organised event and with a licence from Dubai Tourism. He said the maximum penalty is one month in jail and a fine of Dhs3,000.