Eight men jailed in kidnap and Dh1m theft case

Defendants lose appeal, jailed for three years each for kidnapping gold merchant’s friend after a fake gold deal

Dubai: Eight men lost their appeal and will spend three years in jail each for kidnapping a gold merchant’s friend and stealing Dh1 million following a botched fake gold deal.

The eight men — three Ugandans, two Sudanese brothers, a Syrian, a Saudi and a Congolese — kidnapped the Indian friend of the merchant from a hotel while he was carrying a bag containing Dh1 million in cash while they were carrying out a gold deal in January 2016.

Four of the men called the Indian gold merchant to sell him gold bars before the deal was cancelled after he demanded to check the genuineness and quality of the bars.

At the third time they met, the Indian merchant accompanied by his countryman friend met the men at a hotel in Deira.

One of the men accompanied the merchant to a nearby store to check the genuineness of the bars while his friend waited with the cash at the hotel along with two of the defendants.

Shortly after, two other men [from among the eight] walked into the lobby, posed as policemen and asked the merchant’s friend to go outside with them.

Then they forced him into a vehicle, drove off to a construction site where they threatened him and stole the moneybag and ran away.

In October, the Dubai Court of First Instance convicted the eight defendants of kidnapping the merchant’s Indian friend, stealing Dh1 million and his mobile phone and assaulting him and jailed them to three years each.

The defendants appealed their primary judgements before the Appeal Court and sought to have their punishment overturned.

Presiding judge Eisa Mohammad Al Sharif rejected the appeals and upheld the punishments. According to the appellate ruling, the defendants, who pleaded not guilty, will be deported following the completion of their punishments.

The merchant said the incident happened after one of the Tanzanian brokers with whom he deals with contacted him and told him about a gold deal.

“The broker told me that his two friends were in Dubai and wanted to discuss a gold deal with me. We met for the first time and they refused to allow me to check the quality of the gold bars … I called off the deal. The same thing happened the second time. The third time we met, they agreed to allow me to check the gold’s quality. My friend had accompanied me and he had the moneybag. I left him waiting in the hotel with two other men and went with a third man to check the gold.

“While I was in the taxi, my friend called me and told me that some men came to him and claimed to be from the police and they asked him to call me to return to the hotel. When I returned to the hotel, I discovered that my friend and the other two men had been missing. He did not answer my calls … 15 minutes later, my friend called me and told me that he had been kidnapped by a group of men who also took the moneybag from him and left him in the street. Thereafter, he came back and we reported the matter to the police,” he testified.

The 25-year-old friend confirmed the victim’s statement.

A police lieutenant said preliminary investigation led to the arrest of the defendants separately and that the gold bars turned out to be fake.

The appellate ruling remains subject to appeal before the Cassation Court.

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