View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Australians Falling Foul of UAE Law and Tips for Tourists and Residents

Australians today (15 July 2009) reading the Melbourne Age are learning that 91 Australians have been arrested in the United Arab Emirates — notably in Dubai — since January 2008.

The offences range from relatively minor infringements such as non-payment of hotel bills through to allegations of bribery, fraud and espionage.

It is not clear how many of the 91 have been jailed.

Property Case
The Australian Federal Government yesterday (14 July 2009) belatedly confirmed the identity of two Australian property executives who have languished in custody without trial or charge since January over allegations of bribery relating to a major property deal.

The article also stated that “a sudden pricking of the country's property bubble last year led to what Australian development industry sources describe as a scapegoating of foreigners by authorities.”

Detained in Custody
The Age article also alerted readers to the common practice in the UAE for those facing criminal allegations to be held in prison until charges are laid.

Even if you are involved in a car accident you may be detained in police custody while the issues are sorted out.

Currently, 11 Australians across the United Arab Emirates are under arrest, in custody, or have had their passports held over a range of offences.

Source: Royce Millar, Aussies fall foul of law as Dubai slumps, The Age, 15 July 2009.

Tips for Aussie Tourists and Residents
Check out Fines Before You Spit, Litter, Urinate or Abandon Items on UAE Streets, Experiencing the Emirates (ETE).

Don’t go plucking flowers from Dubai Public Gardens (ETE).

Don’t base jump off the tallest tower in the world like one Brit tried last year (ETE).

Don’t go topless on UAE beaches (ETE) or have sex in a public place (ETE).

Check out what to wear in the UAE (ETE).

Understand the strict alcohol laws in the UAE (ETE).

Learn the etiquette of the Emirates (ETE).

Acquaint yourself with the drug laws before you arrive at a UAE airport (ETE).

Read an introduction to UAE law (ETE).

If you are a new resident to the UAE, understand these legal issues (ETE).

Check out cultural differences, if you want to do business in the UAE (ETE).

Read this book if you intend to start a business in the Emirates (ETE).

Be aware and astute if you are buying property in the UAE (ETE).

Check out these laws prohibiting single people of the opposite sex being together in the UAE and homosexual activity (ETE).

Aussies Aren’t Bad
Aussies reading the article in today’s Age shouldn’t omit the UAE from their travel itinerary or be put off the prospect of working in the Emirates.

Australians are well liked and have been going to the Emirates in leaps and bounds (ETE).

Aussies are highly regarded as tourists these days (ETE).

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at) on Facebook and Twitter.

Image: “Understand the strict alcohol laws in the UAE.”