NEWS FROM THE UAE
Excerpts from UAE Dailies
Gang of car robbers busted in Abu Dhabi
ABU DHABI — SEP 16: Abu Dhabi Police have busted a Dubai-based international gang that specialised in stealing luxury cars and smuggling them out of the country with the arrest of seven persons — four Asians and three Latin Americans.
The robbers were nabbed in 48 hours after the disappearance of five cars from Abu Dhabi and Sharjah was reported to the police, thanks to the close coordination with the Dubai law-enforcement authorities.
The case unfolded when the central operations room at the Abu Dhabi police was alerted that a number of luxury four-wheel drive vehicles were stolen from residential villas in Abu Dhabi, said Brigadier Mohammed Al Awadhi Al Minhali, acting Director-General of Police Operations at the Abu Dhabi Police.
Following this, Minister of Interior Lieutenant-General Shaikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan ordered the setting up of a special task force and coordination with Dubai police to apprehend the perpetrators, he said. Accordingly, a task force was formed with Dr Saeed Saif Al Alawi, Director of Criminal Investigations and Intelligence in Abu Dhabi, as its chairman.
The team managed to get information that a gang is based in Dubai which steals only luxury cars. In coordination with Dubai police, Abu Dhabi police succeeded in arresting a man identified only as M.A. (an Asian).
On interrogation, he confessed that he was the head of the gang. He said they had stolen the cars with the aim of smuggling them out of the country.
The CID personnel moved to Dubai and arrested the six others from a residential villa and recovered the cars, Brigadier Minhali said. It appeared that three of the five cars were stolen from Abu Dhabi and the other two from Sharjah, he added.
The value of the cars was estimated at Dh1 million.
The gang did a technically neat job by silencing the anti-theft alarm system and deciphering the operating switch of the cars.
The kingpin of the gang owns a car sales showroom in one of the emirates. His residence visa had expired. The others entered the country on visit visas which had also expired.
The seven will stand trial on charges of violating the residency law and robbery.
Many Indian ‘illegals’ still waiting for outpasses
ABU DHABI — SEP. 16: Hundreds of Indian amnesty seekers are still waiting for their outpasses from the mission.
More than 30 people who possessed tokens issued by the mission for receiving outpasses gathered yesterday at the Kerala Social Centre (KSC), but went back disappointed as the Indian Embassy had not handed over outpasses to the centre and the mission was closed yesterday.
To ease the pressure on the mission, the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi had delegated the reponsibility of handing over passports and outpasses to the KSC, Kabeer Bappu, acting president of the KSC, said yesterday.
“From last Thursday, we started distributing the outpasses to amnesty seekers and have handed over around 600 outpasses to them,” added Bappu.
“Instead of going to the mission, the amnesty seekers are required to approach the centre to collect their outpasses. The centre will remain open from 10am to 5pm on Sunday only and from Monday it will be open from 2pm to 5pm,” Bappu said.
In a peculiar case, Adipelli Ramesh, a labourer from Andhra Pradesh, who had applied for the outpass on August 3, was given someone else’s outpass, as a result of which he was turned away by the airport and immigration authorities. He is now waiting for a new outpass.
Another amnesty seeker, Sangem Chinnaiah from Nizamabad, Andhra Pradesh, said, “I stayed for four days outside the embassy. I had to cancel my travel date twice because I did not get an outpass.”
“I have been shuttling between the embassy and Al Wathba immigration office for the past 20 days, but I haven’t got the outpass,” said Subramanium.
The amnesty seekers complained that the embassy provided them this number 02-4494982 to contact for any inquiry regarding their status but nobody was taking the calls.
“It is not that we tried this number on weekends. We tried it on working days. We have been doing the rounds of the mission for assistance but nobody has responded or talked to us,” alleged some of the amnesty seekers.
Expats find Ramadan a time for bonding
DUBAI — SEP. 16: For thousands of Filipino and Indonesian Muslim expatriates in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, Ramadan has become more than a time for spiritual renewal. With weekly gatherings scheduled throughout the holy month, the season has also been seen as an opportune time to strengthen the community ties while being in a foreign country.
Vanjo Andig, former president of the Filipino-Maranao Community, said that Ramadan is the time when people set aside their differences and build their relationships with one another. “There’s a saying that people cannot enter paradise unless they believe. But they would never believe if they are not united. This is the reason why it is important for us to forgive one another and unite as a people,” he said.
The Maranao community, one of the 13 Muslim factions in the Philippines, holds a weekly gathering every Thursday evening in Dubai in observance of Ramadan. “During the gathering, we organise lectures to help our members understand and appreciate the essence of the holy month,” he said.
He added that iftar gatherings have served as a support system for their members, especially those who live in the UAE alone, as well as an event dedicated to welcoming new converts to the Islamic faith. Discussions during iftar mostly focus on recollections about traditions and customs observed by Maranaos in their native Lanao, a province in Mindanao.
Andig mentioned that an estimated 5 per cent of the more than 250,000 Filipinos in the UAE are Muslims.
Meanwhile, Mohammed Rifai of the Indonesian Muslim Association (IMA) said that they also hold weekly Iftars at the Indonesian Consulate General every Friday for Indonesians residing in Dubai and across the Northern Emirates.
“We take this as an opportunity to pray and celebrate the breaking of the fast together,” he said.
The weekly Ramadan event, Rifai added, features a lecture by an Indonesian imam or Islamic scholar in a bid to enlighten participants about the true meaning of the season.
As expatriates, Rifai said, they are also mindful of the plight of their fellowmen in Indonesia who are suffering from natural disasters like earthquakes.
“Every Ramadan meeting, we solicit financial support from our members. The proceeds are sent to a charity organisation in our country to help those in need. Last year, we were able to collect around Dh8,000, which we sent to Java to assist the victims of a strong earthquake,” he said.
Two Indians killed, Bangladeshi hurt in Ajman accidents
AJMAN — SEP. 16: Overspeeding and pedestrian carelessness claimed two more lives — both Indians — in Ajman yesterday. A Bangladeshi man was seriously injured in a third accident.
The Indian workers were knocked down by two saloon cars around 2 am while crossing the Shaikh Zayed Road near Al Hamadia bridge. Both died on the spot.
The cars, driven by UAE nationals, were heading towards Ajman industrial areas, a police source told Khaleej Times. He refused to divulge more details about the drivers.
In the first incident, a car at high speed hit a 44-year-old man who was crossing the road. The victim was tossed over the divider to the opposite road where several vehicles ran over him killing him on the spot, the official said.
In the other accident, a 38-year-old Indian was run over by another car while crossing the road around the same time.
The third accident took place at 8am on the Emirates Road in Ajman. A 35-year-old Bangladeshi national, identified as Mohammed, was seriously injured after his Nissan pick-up hit the cement barrier on the road. He apparently lost control of the vehicle because of the high speed, the official said.
The vehicle flipped over several times due to the impact of the accident, injuring the driver seriously.
He was rushed to Khalifa Hospital by the Ajman Traffic police and the ambulance unit. Sources at the hospital said his condition was serious and unstable but refused to give details of the injuries.
Speaking to Khaleej Times, a top official from Ajman Traffic and Licensing Department said accidents involving pedestrians had increased this year, especially under the bridges on Shaikh Zayed Road. He blamed them on the lack of traffic awareness among Asian workers who are supposed to use pedestrian walkways or designated crossings. Absence of fences on the roads in areas considered dangerous is another reason attributed to the increase in accidents in Ajman.
No ifs, no butts, ban is here
DUBAI - SEP. 16: Shopping malls across Dubai said the introduction of the ban on smoking passed off successfully yesterday. Posters and stickers warning people of the new rule were on display at most of the centres. And security guards were on patrol to make sure people obeyed the ban.
The new regulation introduced by Dubai Municipality outlaws smoking in all parts of the malls, including food courts and coffee shops.
Non-smokers welcomed the move – but many smokers said the ban should not apply to cafés and restaurants.
Staff at shopping centres in the emirate have been given strict guidelines to ensure the ban is implemented.
Shoppers will not be fined for flouting the rule – for the time being – but employees can warn smokers and can even physically remove them.
Customer service staff at the Mall of the Emirates said they did not encounter any difficulty because people were aware of the rule. “As it is Ramadan, nobody smokes in any public place during the daytime,” said one employee.
“It is only after dusk that we have to keep watch.” A security guard said some shoppers were confused about the posters and thought the ban was due to Ramadan.
He said: “I saw one man lighting up as soon as he entered the mall. When I pointed at the ‘no smoking’ sign, he reminded me that fasting time was over.” Shopper Manaf Obaidat, a communications engineer from Jordan, told Emirates Today he did not know if the ban on lighting up in malls would remain in force after Ramadan.
And some were surprised to find there were no designated smoking zones in some shopping centres.
Indian businessman Ganesh Upadhyay said: “I wanted to have a smoke at Lamcy Plaza yesterday and to my surprise I was told by customer services that they did not have a smoking zone.
Two friends die in road tragedy
AJMAN - SEP. 16: Two friends who worked in the same shop and shared a room died together when they were struck by a speeding car. Salesmen Nasir Illathilchali, 24, and 34-year-old Noufal Koothuparampil, from Kannur in South Indian state of Kerala, were killed in an accident while crossing a road near Al Hamidiya bridge in Ajman in the early hours of Friday.
A colleague who had been dining with them just before the tragedy told how he tried in vain to call them on their mobile phones after hearing there had been an accident.
Munir Panadummel, a salesman at Al Falak Electronic Shop in Ajman City Centre, shared accommodation with the victims. He said: “Four of us went out to a restaurant to have supper.The shop had closed at 1am and we all returned to the room, changed our clothes and went out for food at 2am. Two of us came back but they did not – they wanted to go to another restaurant.
“They never came back. Someone said there had been an accident and two people had died. We called our friends’ mobile phones to find out their whereabouts but the phones were switched off. Later we went and identified their bodies.” Ajman Police confirmed the details of the accident and said the driver of the vehicle that hit the two men had surrendered. Another colleague said: “We are shocked by this news. The Ajman shop and Al Falak’s Sharjah branch remain closed as a sign of mourning.
“They were both keen to fast as it was Ramadan – they went out to have supper because they were fasting in the daytime.
“Noufal was married with two children and his younger daughter is just three months old. He came back from Kerala only a few months ago and had just called his fami ly to say Ramadan Mubarak.
“Nasir had been working in the Naif area of Dubai and was transferred to the Ajman shop just three months ago. He is unmarried and his father also works in the UAE.” Abdulla Moideen, who owns a grocery shop in the area, said: “The accident occurred in a blackspot where many crashes have occurred.
Vehicles are going at high speed in both directions on the flyover and pedestrians have a tough time crossing the road. Speeding motorists often encounter pedestrians and if drivers are not cautious they find it difficult to control their vehicles.” The flyover – with three lanes in each direction – carries traffic heading to and from Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Ras Al Khaimah.
A spokesman for Welcome Group, which owns the electronics shops, said the men would be buried in Ajman. Their families had been told of the tragedy.
Swimmers told to play it safe
ABU DHABI - SEP. 16: Beachgoers have been asked to abide by rules displayed on notice boards at the seashore, to avoid mishaps during Ramadan. This was conveyed in a formal communiqué by Major Khalid Al Shamsi, chief of the Marine Police at the Department of Emergency and Safety at the Abu Dhabi Police Directorate. He said police make round-the-clock patrol to ensure safety at seashores and asked swimmers not to venture into deep waters.
Beachgoers have been asked to abide by rules displayed on notice boards at the seashore, to avoid mishaps during Ramadan. This was conveyed in a formal communiqué by Major Khalid Al Shamsi, chief of the Marine Police at the Department of Emergency and Safety at the Abu Dhabi Police Directorate. He said police make round-the-clock patrol to ensure safety at seashores and asked swimmers not to venture into deep waters.
RAK Ruler pardons 45 prisoners
Ras Al Khaimah: His Highness Sheikh Saqr Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah has ordered Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, RAK Crown Prince and RAK Deputy Ruler to release 45 prison inmates from the penal and reformatory institutions in RAK, where they spent varying jail terms. They will be also pardoned from all fines. Saqr's exoneration gesture of the-45 prisoners was prompted by advent of the Holy Month of Ramadan
Man gets exemption to sponsor his wife
ABU DHABI — SEP. 16: An expatriate whose basic monthly salary is not enough to sponsor his wife has been exempted by the Abu Dhabi Naturalization and Residency Department from complying with the condition on humanitarian grounds.
According to sources, the director of the department sympathised with the Asian’s situation and waived the stipulation.
The applicant, who is identified only an Asian and somebody who embraced Islam recently, will get a two-year residence visa for his wife.
He was also exempted from paying the deposit required to be surrendered with the department as warranty until the sponsorship of his spouse is transferred or get her visa cancelled before the deposit is returned to the sponsor, the sources said.
The committee tasked with looking into cases on humanitarian grounds studies hundreds of applications every week and decides, as per the conditions and circumstances, who is eligible to sponsor his relatives, the sources noted.
Court orders firm to pay part-time worker
ABU DHABI — SEP. 16: The Federal Supreme Court has ordered a company to pay Dh16,300 to one of the sacked daily wage workers.
The worker filed a suit at the Al Ain Court of First Instance, saying he was appointed a part-time employee on a daily wage of Dh60. The company refused to pay the wages of four months, he said.
“When I claimed my rights, the company terminated my service,” he said.
The worker also demanded an after-service benefit amount of Dh6000 which the company had deducted from his wages in return for issuing a residency for him.
Following the hearing, the court ruled in the worker’s favour, ordering the company to pay Dh16,300 to him in addition to the return fare.
The company went in appeal before the Al Ain Court of Appeal which upheld the verdict.
In its plea to the Federal Supreme Court, the company said the worker was a part-time employee.
In its verdict, the apex court ruled that the rights of daily wage workers should be protected and that non-frequency of reporting for duty does not justify abusing his rights.
Consequently, the court turned down the company’s petition and upheld the lower court’s verdict.