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Warning for anyone flying via Dubai - VERY SERIOUS

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I outlined in another post our traumatic experience when my OH was detained at Dubai airport for two hours and strip searched.

 

Since we returned I have heard a number of horror stories including someone who was imprisoned for four months for having Paracodol - i was kind of thinking it was probably an urban myth (it was a 'friend of a friend' story) so i did a bit of digging and found this:

 

How children’s medicine could get you four years in a Dubai jail - Times Online

 

It’s selling itself as a 21st-century playground, a world capital of tourism offering beach resorts to challenge the Caribbean, Parisian art and Hong Kong-style shopping in an environment that’s “safer than Singapore”. But draconian antidrug laws are undermining Dubai’s carefully cultivated fun-loving image.

 

Travel there with a bottle of cough mixture and you could catch a cold. Last week, the emirate’s authorities quietly released Cat Le-Huy, a 31-year-old tourist who was held for six weeks in the central prison at Al-Wathba after customs officials found melatonin pills - used to beat jet lag - and a speck of dirt that the authorities declared was hashish in his luggage.

 

He was lucky. Last month, the Radio 1 DJ Raymond Bingham - aka Grooverider - was jailed for four years for possessing 2.16 grams of cannabis. Whether he will serve the entire sentence depends on the whim of Dubai’s judiciary: the American record producer Dallas Austin, sentenced to four years when ecstasy was found in his possession, and Londoner Keith Brown, who received the same term after 0.003 grams of cannabis (an amount smaller than a pinhead) was discovered lodged in the tread of his shoes, were recently freed in prison amnesties.

 

Five other Britons, along with 19 French nationals and an Italian tourist, have been imprisoned for weeks or months for the alleged possession of even microscopic amounts of narcotics, but it’s not just recreational drug users who are at risk.

 

“What many travellers may not realise is that they can be deemed to be in possession of such banned substances if they can be detected in their urine or bloodstream, or in tiny trace amounts on their person,” says Catherine Wolthuizen of Fair Trials International. “We even have reports of the imprisonment of a Swiss man for ‘possession’ of three poppy seeds on his clothing after he ate a bread roll at Heathrow.

 

“We have seen a steep increase in such cases over the past 18 months. Customs authorities are using highly sensitive new equipment to conduct extremely thorough searches on travellers, and if they find any amount – no matter how minute – it will be enough to attract a mandatory four-year prison sentence.”

 

On the list of substances that travellers can be jailed for possessing are dozens of compounds used in over-the-counter remedies. These include Benylin children’s coughs and colds formula, which contains dextromethorphan, and Tixylix children’s cough syrup. Other products on a blacklist of more than 300 substances include the popular antidiarrhoea treatment Lomotil, cough treatments Coldex and Robitussin, and antidepressants Valium and Prozac. Possession of any of these without a prescription or an explanatory letter from your GP could lead to arrest and imprisonment.

 

And despite the fact that more than 800,000 British tourists will visit Dubai this year, none of the tour operators contacted by The Sunday Times offers information about what medicines can be taken into the emirate. “We would not put detailed banned substances on the website as this would be too much information to digest,” Kuoni said. “We do, however, refer clients, both in the brochure and links on the website, to the Foreign Office’s website.”

 

In its entry on Dubai, the Foreign Office advises: “Some over-the-counter medicines, such as codeine, are illegal without a doctor’s prescription. In some cases, you will be allowed to take these medicines in, providing they are in their original packaging and, in addition to the prescription, you provide a note from your GP outlining what the medicine is required for.” The definitive list can be found only as a file buried deep in the pharmacists’ section of the United Arab Emirates ministry of health’s website, but is it reasonable to expect families to ask GPs for a letter to cover a bottle of Tixylix bought in Boots?

 

“Along with the international community, Dubai has a clear policy regarding drug trafficking, smuggling and possession, and this is one of the reasons the emirate has one of the lowest crime rates in the world,” says Ian Scott of Dubai’s department of tourism. “This, in turn, is one of the many reasons it is such an attractive holiday destination.”

 

But Tixylix? “The message is clear,” Scott says. “Don’t take illegal drugs, and if you’re on medication, bring a prescription to prove it. We have hundreds of thousands of tourists every year, and the number stopped with illegal substances is infinitesimal.”

 

If you are one of that number, you could end up behind bars for weeks, months or even the mandatory four years, so it’s probably best to leave the Tixylix at home.

 

What makes me go absolutely cold is we had bought a bottle of TIXILYX in Tesco's and it was in my husbands luggage - either they didn't see it or there is some element of urban myth in this article.

 

And as for cannabis in the sole of a shoe - shudder, we'd spent a weekend at T-in-the Park so god knows what was on our shoes.........

 

A scary, scary place we will NEVER fly through again.

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Thank you for posting this, as the flight with scale in Dubai is an option from the flight Brazil - Sydney.

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Guest
Thank you for posting this, as the flight with scale in Munbai is an option from the flight Brazil - Sydney.

 

This is Dubai? Is that whre you meann or maybe Mumbai IOndia?

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Hi

 

I am flying with them in 7 weeks, what happened with you?

 

I missed your other post!

 

I am worried now

emma


Lang may yer lum reek!

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Guest
Hi

 

I am flying with them in 7 weeks, what happened with you?

 

I missed your other post!

 

I am worried now

emma

 

Just attend to the list VERY carefully and you'll be fine.

 

Very late here I'll post again tomorrow.

 

Jules

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This is Dubai? Is that whre you meann or maybe Mumbai India?

 

I meant Dubai. I was reading an article about the Mumbai attacks and got confused...:goofy:

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Blimey, getting stopped for having melatonin! I'd be cactus then!!!!

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Can't wait to read Nigels post


Kind Regards

 

Geoffrey (32, an aussie!!), Tracy (35), Jake (7), Jessica (2) & Joseph (1) :jiggy:

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OMG that's awful!!! So many of us could get caught with innocent things. I recently trevelled through there with paracetamol and codeine tablets!!!!!!!!!

 

Thanks for your post.

 

Love

 

Rudi

x


 

 

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Jules I was looking for the post where you said you had explained what happend and I can't find it - can you post a link please.

 

Thanks

 

Rudi

x


 

 

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Guest proud2beaussie

Well Geoffrey here it is.

I can only speak from my personal experience,I have transited through Dubai on 18 flights and was there for 10 days on an industry seminar in 2007 and I have never had a problem despite having in my possession panadeine forte and a bronchitis mixture.

The UAE is quite strict on drugs but the policy is well documented,my advice is to ensure that if you are transiting Dubai and have anything that is on the list make sure you declare it and have a GP prescription with you.

So far in 2009 I have booked 28 people on flights through Dubai and none of them have had a problem,that doesn't mean some people won't be affected but pay attention to the rules and there should not be any hassles.

BTW,The "case" of the man who ate a bread roll and was stopped because he had three poppy seeds on him has been discredited,that story was floating around the industry last year and was declared later to be false.

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We flew with Emirates in 2005 and had no idea of this!!!

I want to book with them again but I'm worried now...

Can we take Calpol for 6+ years in those little packets? What headache cure does anyone recommend? Asprin?

We were actually stopped in Sydney with OHs tablets to calm him on the plane and immigration said they were *highly illegal* and took us to 3 different lots of people who counted them and then passed us to someone else.

Eventually i said they could keep them. They finally said no, you can keep them :arghh:

They were prescribed from the doctor. I told him when we got back and he just laughed!!!


47SV Special Migrant Former Resident Visa Applied 15.9.08 Granted 10.3.09

Arrived 19.9.09 Lovin' it!!

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Guest
Well Geoffrey here it is.

I can only speak from my personal experience,I have transited through Dubai on 18 flights and was there for 10 days on an industry seminar in 2007 and I have never had a problem despite having in my possession panadeine forte and a bronchitis mixture.

The UAE is quite strict on drugs but the policy is well documented,my advice is to ensure that if you are transiting Dubai and have anything that is on the list make sure you declare it and have a GP prescription with you.

So far in 2009 I have booked 28 people on flights through Dubai and none of them have had a problem,that doesn't mean some people won't be affected but pay attention to the rules and there should not be any hassles.

BTW,The "case" of the man who ate a bread roll and was stopped because he had three poppy seeds on him has been discredited,that story was floating around the industry last year and was declared later to be false.

 

The thing is Nigel, you probably don't look like my husband :laugh:

And whilst you say the policy is 'well documented' (& I don't disgree, I found lists of the banned substances on a number of sites) they were certainly not 'well publicised' to me prior to the flight. My travel agent only refered to 'opiate based' medicines.

 

We would NEVER fly through Dubai again, it was so traumatic I am thinking I might might counselling before I become obsessed :confused: but the purpose of my post was to make sure everyone here is well aware of the rules so they can pay attention to them and have no hassles as you suggest.

 

This is why I suggested the list is made a sticky.

 

At the end of the day my OH was released despite having substances on the list in his possession and he is certain they were only looking for drugs Australia would also consider illegal.

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Guest proud2beaussie

Sounds like you had a bad time Jules and you and your OH have my sympathy for what you went through.

I would also (cheekily) suggest that you find a better travel agent as every single agent worth their salt subscribes to emai updates from airlines and customs authorities and industry newsletters that detail these sorts of concerns,but at the end of the day that doesn't fix what happened to you.

But I still wouldn't let that stop me travelling through Dubai which I think is a fabulous place,but I can understand why you wouldn't agree.

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Guest ashmalog

we recently travelled via dubai and i searched the website www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk and they listed all banned substances. my OH was taking co codomol for shoulder pain and he wasnt allowed to take them so managed on paracetamol and ibuprofen for the duration, codeine is a banned substance. i was allowed to take antihistimine though.

 

bonnie

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Guest
Jules I was looking for the post where you said you had explained what happend and I can't find it - can you post a link please.

 

Thanks

 

Rudi

x

 

I can't remember which thread it was now, it was a poll on which airline is best.

 

In brief, we were having a two night stopover in Dubai, we cleared immigration and then were approached by a casually dressed guy who flashed his ID and asked us a few questions, where we'd been, where we were staying, final destination etc. This was after midnight after a very trying and emotional day and of course a longish flight, although we were asked the questions in English my OH especially found it difficult to understand & he was then asked to go with him. I went to follow and was told to wait where we were. My lttle one ended up laying down on the floor and falling to sleep (which was a blessing), after two hours of questioning, bag searches and strip search he was finally released with no explanation other than 'routine check'

 

In that two hours every horror story I have ever read about Dubai filled my mind. It was probably just as well I read the Times article afterwards though.......we'd been to T-in-the Park, god knows what was on our shoes :wubclub:

 

If this had happened in Australia, UK, US etc. it would have been nothing more than an annoyance but it was an absolute fear of the unknown.

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Guest D4nnyB0y

I haven't read all the posts on here, but have a friend who's brother was detained in Dubai for 6 weeks for carrying prescription medicines clearly labelled with his name, simply because they were on their list of prohibited drugs.

 

Anyone travelling through UAE needs to ensure they obtain a letter from their Gp clearly detailing why they are carrying it and what it is treating.

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