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14 November, 2006

Booze and bang to rights

It really is a bizarre day when someone gets prosecuted for drinking beer in a Dubai pub:

"Dubai: A Briton has been acquitted of drinking alcohol because he had a liquor permit issued to him by the police."

All well and good, but what about tourists? They don't have special permits when they visit Dubai.

"A police report said the man was caught drunk and was referred to the Public Prosecution which charged him with having beer at a Bur Dubai pub."

This is completely arse about tit. Drunken, rowdy behaviour in public - fine. Charge him with that. Don't charge him with something that is 100 per cent legal in the sandlands (Stone Age Sharjah excepted).

"His lawyer told the court that the general manager was allowed to purchase and consume liquor. The suspect purchased the beer in a pub in a hotel. The pub is authorised to sell liquor and he had a permit to consume liquor, explained the defence lawyer."

One really has to wonder how cases like this ever get to court. What a total waste of everyone's time and money.

In other news, given how advanced the UAE's medical facilities are becoming, it's unusual to see people travelling to Bangkok for "medical treatment". And if your wife is going to write ten million dirham cheques in your absence, all the more reason to seek "treatment" closer to home.

Labels: , ,


Blogger Dubai@Random said...

I was told when I first arrived in the UAE that guests at a hotel that serves alcoholic beverages are allowed to drink legally in the bars of that hotel and nowhere else.

In order to drink legally in Dubai or Abu Dhabi, temporary guests working in the UAE and not staying in hotels must have a license to drink in the hotel bars and to use the off-license shops.

The license can be obtained only with a letter from the temporary guest's employer stating that the guest is an infidel, and that the employer has no objections.

Or one can take a taxi to Ajman or Umm Al Quwain.

But the Orient is a place where laws are enforced with a certain flexibility seldom seen in Western countries.

So the casual observer sees what would seem to be large numbers of unlicensed drinkers.

And the Internet trawler can read that such unlicensed drinkers have been lashed at least once in the past.

14 November, 2006 04:55  
Blogger dubaibaggie said...

If MY wife tried to cash a cheque for a million dirhams drawn on my account it would be SHE who required medical treatment in Bangkok or elsewhere.

14 November, 2006 07:26  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is completely rediculous. It is 100% legal for a traveller to bring alcohol into this country. Now if a friend visited me and dragged a few bottles of alcohol along, we could potentially both get arrested for consuming that alcohol at home!! I can have alcohol and I can look at the alcohol but I can't consume the alcohol - or is looking and owning it at home also illegal?

14 November, 2006 09:55  
Blogger smithers427 said...

So all tourists having a drink at Apres, are staying at the "Apres Hotel"? Well that is tricky as there is no such hotel and as far as I can tell it is unconnected to the Kempinski. What about tourists having a beer at the races? All should be imprisioned?

14 November, 2006 10:07  
Blogger smithers427 said...

The other Guy...and flying in through Sharjah you can buy alcohol on arrival, but is it then not illegal to transport that alcohol in Sharjah?

14 November, 2006 10:08  
Blogger smithers427 said...

Actually - perhaps I haven't thought this through...I guess this Brit was a resident? So tourists can do what they like but a resident must have an alcohol licence to consume alcohol, anywhere? Confused, I am.

14 November, 2006 10:15  
Blogger DesertNorm said...

I think the problem came about because the guy was drunk. As I understand it, and as the court case shows, a resident with an alcohol licence can drink alcohol in pubs and at home.
But, why was this guy arrested?
Did the police just decide to go into a pub to see if they could find anyone drinking in there? Probably not, the real cause of his arrest was (and I am just speculating here) his behaviour. I don't know if UAE law allows for people to be charged with being drunk and disorderly but perhaps it doesn't so all they could charge him with was consuming liquor, for which he already has a get-out-of-jail free card.

14 November, 2006 10:39  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It still means that as a resident without a liquor permit I stand a chance of winning the lottery with that police man having a bad day and getting arrested for consuming alcohol at the Dubai 7's or at home. Even though the alcohol was obtained perfectly legal within the UAE.

14 November, 2006 11:20  
Blogger DesertNorm said...

Technically yes, although I think that if you don't have a permit you can't say that the alcohol was obtained legally. However, I like to think that as long as you do nothing to bring yourself into contact with the police the risk you run is very small.

On the other hand, does this mean that if you do have a liquor licence you are entitled to be as drunk and obnoxious as you want ?

14 November, 2006 11:59  
Blogger dontfearfreedom said...

As far as I understand you have to be an Infidel to obtain a permit, right? And you need a permit to drink alcohol? What about the numerous Dish-Dashes drinking in Vu's, Bar 44 etc, do they need/have a permit?

14 November, 2006 12:12  
Blogger Dubai Entrepreneur said...

Look, the law is stupid. You know it, I know it, we all know it. However, you have to admit that it is not being abused in Dubai. Very much like many stupid laws around the world (and every country has its fair share of ridiculous laws that don't make any sense).

The truth of the matter is, unless you are being obnoxious and act like you will be trouble, no one is going to bother you.

I've been drinking out in Dubai more times than I can count (and a lot of you have). I have been in the company of people who were absolute drunks (myself included at times). However, I have never been in a situation where I had to answer to any authority. The reason, we don't bother others.

14 November, 2006 12:57  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Look, the law is stupid. You know it, I know it, we all know it.

It's not the fact that we don't know that the law is stupid, it's the fact that we don't know the law. I've never entered a bar and seen any notice that it is illegal for me to drink alcohol there unless I have a permit. I have never seen it in a tourist brochure, nor any guide to Dubai. Nor has anyone ever told me this, in five years here. This article is the first time I've found out about it.

So either they need to ask people for their hotel key or alcohol permit in bars, or they need to change the law.

14 November, 2006 13:04  
Blogger click_310 said...

Any lawyers read this blog?

Care to clarify the said law, and educate the masses?

14 November, 2006 13:31  
Blogger click_310 said...

[...]Drinking or possession of alcohol without a Ministry of Interior liquor permit is illegal and could result in arrest and/or fines and imprisonment. Alcohol is served at bars in most major hotels but is intended for guests of the hotel. Persons who are not guests of the hotel, and who consume alcohol in the restaurants and bars, technically are required to have their own personal liquor licenses. Liquor licenses are issued only to non-Muslim persons who possess UAE residency permits. Drinking and driving is considered a serious offense. Penalties generally are assessed according to religious law.[...]

Taken from the state department

14 November, 2006 13:42  
Blogger SIN said...

Assuming the US State Dept. has obtained the info from the UAE federal and state law...all I can say is that hotels should then be charged for breaking the law, as they don't check the permits while serving alcohol.
Dubai Duty Free should be charged for selling alcohol to those without permits and allowing them to go home with them...a higher charge!
And Dubai Govt is the biggest criminal of all, as they own half these hotels (if not all) and Dubai Duty Free!

And that's all M'Lord!

14 November, 2006 15:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Liquor licenses are issued only to non-Muslim persons who possess UAE residency permits.

So discrimination against expats in other words. I have seen locals in their white outfits having beers on more than one occasion.

So the conclusion is when you go drinking, have a white dress ( or whatever you call that ) close by.

14 November, 2006 15:33  
Blogger Jassim said...

The whole alchohal situation in Dubai is very hypocrital. U either have it available or u dont.

14 November, 2006 16:40  
Blogger CG said...

the law has always been the same and it is up to your employer/embassy/sponser to clarify this with you. Tourists are supposed to be informed by their hotel/sponsor.

The reason that only hotels are licensed to sell alcohol is because you are supposed to sleep over and not just drop in to fill up.

Forget Nationals and their drinking habits, it really is NOT the issue here. The important part is that all companies are responsible for informing their employees. And as an Islamic country alcohol is forbidden unless you have been directly authorised to purchase it.

Anyone who says that they do not know the law should call their embassy and ask. I did see it up on the board at the British Embassy about 20 years ago. And anywhere you read about Dubai, you will see regarding alcohol that you require a license. It is not allowed to be out in public after drinking, nor to drive a vehicle.

Another law that has not been ammended (to my knowledge) is that it is illegal to be out after 11pm under the age of 17 without an 'adult'. Plenty of teenagers do get picked up and held until someone comes looking for them.

14 November, 2006 17:10  
Blogger unJane said...

On any given day, the stand out article for me is more often than not the one you write about. As there were 2 today, I looked forward to seeing which one you had chosen to feature. The one you didn't choose was titled Wife Received Death Threats by Telephone and the chilling passgae reads...'The police referred the case to the Public Prosecution which ordered Etisalat to provide a record of telephone conversations.....
A RECORD OF TELEPHONE CONVERSATIONS??????? Are we all bugged? Who knew? Maybe we could even have a bit of fun with this revelation ;-)

14 November, 2006 17:12  
Blogger Nuppo said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

14 November, 2006 17:20  
Blogger Nuppo said...

how can you prove your religion? not all passports state the bearer's religion.

14 November, 2006 17:23  
Blogger Balushi said...

Hey Secy! How come u didnt write about the article "Building Towers, Cheating workers" ????

Are u getting afraid now of something?

Cant believe it! With 200 SHEIKHS still No one is able to come up with proper obvious law and order!

14 November, 2006 18:40  
Blogger tobasco said...

I saw the arse over tit comment on your blog and thought I'd cheekily post this to state that I just finished an article summarising a few British slang words.

Regarding this I knew a few friends who would drink at hotels. They were arab-expats, non-infidels (Thanks dontfearfreedom) and with no alcohol licence. Whether that meant that they were risking a few lashes, we'll never know.

14 November, 2006 19:35  
Blogger click_310 said...

CG[...]Anyone who says that they do not know the law should call their embassy and ask. [...]

True, the lack of knowledge of a law is not an excuse, anywhere! Did the *masses* get a memo that I failed to intercept. Were they informed? or is it assumed that they would assume?

Either way would you care to quote the law, down to the article, ( am hoping that you are a lawyer).

While there is a reason for the ambulance chasers to reveal themselves here,(no offense intended to the lawyers). How about quoting the actual law with publicly accisable references to the law that states - employers cannot retain an employees passport.

14 November, 2006 21:24  
Blogger DesertNorm said...

This is great. I find it amazing that we are discussing the legality of something that most of us do, and none of us have any way of finding out definitively what the situation is.

14 November, 2006 22:36  
Blogger LocalExpat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

14 November, 2006 23:04  
Blogger LocalExpat said...

Good point desertnorm! I knew that LEGALLY you need to be a non-muslim to get a license which allows you to drink at venue, purchase from MMI or A&E and to drink it at home. And non -muslim hotel guest can drink at the venue.
But how do i know this or what specific laws relate to it, that is something I don't know... seems like all of us are just regurgitating rumours without any HARD FACTS to back us up..

BTW does anyone know of a website that has UAE laws in English?

14 November, 2006 23:40  
Blogger smithers427 said...

"Alcohol is served at bars in most major hotels but is intended for guests of the hotel."

Yes - so how does that help people at the rugby 7's...I didn't notice a hotel there, or at the Irish Village or at Apres or at the races

15 November, 2006 08:32  
Blogger SIN said...

Good point Smither427. The same applies to the Nad Al Sheba Club, the crappy India Club and the Dubai Country Club, to name but few.

Probably because these institutions have a ‘Club’ status and the law states that clubs can carry a liquor license. But that would still break law no. 1234 (or whatever it is) saying you can’t drink unless you have a pvt permit or are a hotel guest at that hotel.

So technically only those who have drinking permits are allowed to drink at clubs. So clubs are also breaking the law by serving those who don’t produce permits.

Oh what vicious circle we find ourselves in.

15 November, 2006 10:18  
Blogger CG said...

The Dubai Country Club and the Indian sports club were both 'granted' licenses by the late Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum. It was a favour to the very small community of expats at the time. The ony other watering holes available then were the Red Lion and The Bangkok Cellar (Sharjah).

I do agree that the law should be clarified, but still feel when in a Muslim country it goes without saying that anything to do with sex & alcohol should be carefully thought about before enagaging in.

And any comments about ladies of the night and hypocritical locals are nothing to do with this.

15 November, 2006 11:20  
Blogger click_310 said...

So does anyone here have access to the law books ?

Someone ?

15 November, 2006 11:44  
Blogger CG said...

For such a clever bunch of people I find it almost boring to hear you asking for law books and claiming to not know the basics.
Here is what I found on the net for Americans, Aussies & Brits. That covers quite a lot since those from the sub-con & Stans already know what Islamic law is all about:

From here I found this:
Liquor licences can be obtained by residents to consume alcohol in private homes, and alcoholic drinks are served in licensed hotels and clubs. But it is a punishable offence to drink or to be drunk in public.

And here, this:
Drinking or possession of alcohol without a Ministry of Interior liquor permit is illegal and could result in arrest and/or fines and imprisonment.

And more here:
Drinking or possession of alcohol without a United Arab Emirates Ministry of Interior liquor permit is illegal and could result in arrest and imprisonment.

15 November, 2006 11:55  
Blogger SIN said...

Look, if anyone want's to read up on the law manual can probably find a dog eared copy tucked away at the Public Library. I recall fishing it out years ago for a class project...

15 November, 2006 12:10  
Blogger secretdubai said...

CG: those laws still don't explain:

(1) why someone can buy liquor duty free without a license

(2) why tourists are allowed to drink without a license. Does that include all non-muslims on visit visas? Does that mean that if my parents visit, they can drink in their hotel bar, but I have to sip soda water?

(3) And what are the implications for tourists drinking at other hotel bars?

(4) And given that only one person is named on an an alcohol license (eg the husband not the wife, or whatever) does this mean that he can drink but she can't? Because only working people can get those licenses, so does this debar wives/sponsored husbands (rare though they are) and adult father-sponsored daughters from ever being able to drink?

It truly is a basket case of a situation.

15 November, 2006 13:03  
Blogger dontfearfreedom said...

Of course what they should do is get rid of the licence system and make obtaining and drinking alcohol up to the individual. If your age, health or religion prevents you from consumption then you should have the choice to drink or not drink; whether to risk your health or religion if you want to.

15 November, 2006 14:15  
Blogger samuraisam said...

secretdubai:"(4) And given that only one person is named on an an alcohol license (eg the husband not the wife, or whatever) does this mean that he can drink but she can't? Because only working people can get those licenses, so does this debar wives/sponsored husbands (rare though they are) and adult father-sponsored daughters from ever being able to drink?"

I was looking at the application form for a liquor license the other day; a husband can specify a spouse who can share the liquor license.

15 November, 2006 14:39  
Blogger secretdubai said...

a husband can specify a spouse who can share the liquor license.

Aha - fair enough. Would that include adult daughters and other family members (parents) living here on sponsorship?

15 November, 2006 15:01  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NO way am I sharing my liquor license with any one, it is just plain rude and should be punishable by death to consume someone else's allotted alcohol.

15 November, 2006 15:26  
Blogger hannibal said...

secret dubai said
"(1) why someone can buy liquor duty free without a license"?

no one seems to be able to answer this very pertinent question.

the DDF does roaring business as Non Muslims can buy upto 4 litres of alcohol or 4 cases of beer. but is it all illegal?or punishable by law?


15 November, 2006 15:47  
Blogger aussie70 said...

Its all about the money ... di de da dum dum

15 November, 2006 19:31  
Blogger CG said...

SD: any liquor that is legally acquired (by license or duty free) is to be consumed in your residence (or hotel) and must not be shared/gifted/blahblah. This is clearly stated on your license rules.
Tourists are only allowed to drink their duty free in their rooms, or in a hotel they are residing in. If you wish to drink with them, do so at your own risk (unless you have a license to do).

I am having as much difficulty in understanding why nobody 'gets' these laws as the others are having in understanding the laws...
Confused? go and have a drink.

Talking of which, does anyone know what will be happening on New Years Eve this year? Is alcohol banned?

15 November, 2006 21:42  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dubai has become fairly strict since the days that my friends and I would sneak into bars and clubs for a little underage (we were around 15) drinking. I think the closest we got to getting caught was when the manager at Henry J Beans became suspicious and let us have one drink before he cut us off. We had fake ID and everything. I'd probably not risk it now with the apparent increase in secret police these days.

16 November, 2006 00:58  
Blogger smithers427 said...

I'm still confused...please explain the rugby 7's. Is EVERY single person there a resident with a alchohol licence or is EVERY person there a tourist staying at the lush hotel at the grounds?

16 November, 2006 08:43  
Blogger SIN said...

WHy stop there non-hotel New Year gigs (like the one at Autodrome last year) did everyone in attendance have a liqour license...?

This is just another one of those gray matters this country is full of...

16 November, 2006 12:46  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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16 September, 2009 11:28  

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