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British Consul says no change to UAE alcohol advice for nationals

British Consul says no change to UAE alcohol advice for nationals

British media reported that a consul Facebook page had urged travellers not to drink on flights to Dubai

The British Consul in the UAE has clarified that there has been no change to government advice for British nationals regarding the consumption of alcohol in the country after news reports to the contrary.

On Thursday, the official UK in the UAE Facebook page issued a reminder to British nationals holding a UAE residence permit that “it is illegal to purchase or consume alcohol without a liquor licence”.

“If caught carrying or drinking alcohol without a licence or with alcohol in your blood you can be arrested. It is a punishable offence to be under the influence of alcohol in public-including when transiting through the UAE,” the post read.

UK publication The Daily Mail said the post was a warning about the consumption of alcohol on flights from the UK to Dubai after a Swedish woman living in the southeast of England was arrested while trying to enter the emirate.

There were conflicting reports as to why Ellie Holman, who arrived in Dubai on an Emirates flight from London Gatwick Airport earlier this year, was detained.

Reports in the UK media quoted Holman as saying she was arrested after drinking a glass of wine on the flight before arriving in the country.

Dubai Media Office said she attempted to enter the UAE using an expired Swedish passport and then produced an Iranian passport, which meant she would have to change her return flight as it only allowed her to stay for 96 hours on a temporary visa.

Read: Dubai drops charges, deports Swedish woman who ‘insulted’ airport officials

She then “refused angrily due to the additional payment fees the process would require, and proceeded to verbally insult the immigration officer and take photos of the officer via her phone”, Dubai Media Office said.

She was arrested on charges of “profanity and photographing a government official at the border crossing, a restricted area”, the government office said.

All charges against the woman were later dropped and she was deported.

A group that drew attention to Holman’s case, Detained in Dubai, told The Daily Mail the advice on the British Consul’s Facebook post represented the first time such a warning had been issued and said it also applied to the hundreds of thousands of British visitors flying to the UAE each year.

Holman also told the publication she welcomed the ‘warning’.

“Millions holiday in the UAE every year and they should not be put in harms way by Emirates and other airlines and suffer like I and my family did,” she was quoted as saying.

In a follow-up post on Friday, September 7, the UK in the UAE page clarified “there has been no change to the UK Government’s advice to British nationals on consuming alcohol in the UAE”.

It directed people to the UK government’s official travel advice page.

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