Unusual smuggling bids in Dubai revealed

Items seized from smugglers diplayed at event focusing on organised crime include a miniature pistol and knife concealed in Eiffel Tower replica

15:29 March 10, 2018

Dubai: Criminals are resorting to novel ways to smuggle weapons, drugs and stolen valuables, Dubai Police officials said at a recent event in Dubai focusing on organised crime.

Police officials were briefed on various ploys used by criminals during smuggling attempts, from a bid to sneak in a tiny pistol to a knife hidden inside an Eiffel Tower replica.

Brigadier Abdullah Ali Al Gaithi, director of protective security and emergency department at Dubai Police, said the event was held in cooperation with Dubai Customs to discuss sureshot ways of catching smugglers and foiling attempts to smuggle weapons, drugs and stolen items into or outside the country.

AI to be used in police work

“We aim to protect the country from organised gangs and will use artificial intelligence in searching to catch the criminals. The police have experience in foiling smuggling attempts; we need to stay a step ahead of the criminals who are developing new ways,” Brigadier Al Gaithi said.

The event exhibited several items seized from smugglers, including a tiny pistol caught from a passenger and knives hidden in belts and inside a replica of the Eiffel Tower.

Ahmad Jumaa Al Jamry, a Dubai Customs official, said most smuggling attempts were made via containers coming by sea.

“Dubai Customs inspect 17 million containers every year and this number will go up to 24 million by 2020. The challenge is to make quick inspections. We always train our inspectors and use latest technology,” Al Jamry said.

He said that they have five devices to scan entire containers and each one can scan 150 containers per hour without human intervention.

“Last year, we found 141 kg of heroin hidden inside a container of toys. The drugs were hidden in the container walls. We have scanning devices, sniffer dogs and a mobile lab to foil any smuggling attempt.”

Brigadier Ayoub Hassan, from the Anti-Narcotic Department in Dubai Police, said smugglers used different ways like smuggling drugs inside clothes, generators, computer screens, baby diapers and even nuts.

“They used smart and strange ways to smuggle drugs like when we foiled an attempt to smuggle 76 kg of cocaine inside computer screens or smuggling drugs in gas cylinders,” Brigadier Hassan said.

The officials agreed to have a mechanism to exchange information between all bodies in the country and have joint training between Dubai police and customs.

Major Ali Saeed Al Yamahi, from the Criminal Investigation Department at Dubai Police, said thieves and smugglers hide stolen items in the strangest places like inside abandoned cars, bathrooms, or in electronic devices like vacuum cleaners or even out in the desert.

“We arrested a European man who stole Dh1 million and hid it in a bag in a mountain area. He kept checking the bag for four days before we arrested him. Another case was for a suspect who hid small bars of gold and diamonds inside his body to smuggle it outside the country,” Major Al Yamahi said.