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UAE seeks tougher punishments for beggars, organised gangs

UAE seeks tougher punishments for beggars, organised gangs

The draft legislation comes ahead of Ramadan, when beggars are known to exploit charitable families

The UAE’s Federal National Council on Tuesday backed a draft law that will impose tougher punishments for beggars and organised gangs.

Members said beggars, particularly those in good health working for profit, should be more heavily punished, according to The National.

The new punishments include a minimum prison sentence of six months and a fine of at least Dhs100,000 ($27,226) for those found to be operating begging gangs.

The punishment will increase if the gang is found to have trafficked people into the country to help them.

Individual beggars face up to three months in jail and at least a Dhs5,000 ($1,361) fine.
Previously the only punishment was one month in jail followed by deportation.

The new punishments come ahead of the holy month of Ramadan, expected to begin around the middle of next month, when beggars are known to exploit citizens’ and residents’ more charitable leanings.

Read: Ramadan likely to begin on May 17

Earlier this month, police in Sharjah said they had arrested an Asian gang accused of bringing up to 35 people with special needs into the country to use them as beggars.

Under the new draft law, beggars found to be in good health with an income or faking an injury or disability face the maximum possible punishment.

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