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British Tourist in Dubai Faces 1 Year in Prison Over a £20 Note

News Dubai may look like a perfect vacation destination because of excellent infrastructure, wonderful shopping, and gorgeous Dubai hotels. However, a paradise like holiday can turn into a nightmare, as that happened with British dad Billy Barclay. Arrested and stripped of his passport, he’s not capable of leaving the UAE because of a fake £20 note.

A year ago, the 31-year-old plasterer from Edinburgh made a vacation in Dubai with his wife and children. While enjoying his holiday, he tried to exchange money at an exchange in Al Hamra Mall. Unfortunately, money detector showed that one £20 note was counterfeit. Barclay doesn’t know where he got the fake note. He must have received it just before leaving the United Kingdom as a change or maybe the detector was working improperly.

Once the fake note was detected, the family had to wait till the police arrived. Mr. Barclay was put to prison right front of his wife and children aged nine and seven. The police searched their hotel room and investigated the case. Mr. Barclay was taken to Ras Al Khaima CID headquarters, and then he was questioned for 12 hours. As police found no more counterfeit money, the Scottish man was released without any charge.

Once the unfortunate traveler was released, he double checked with the police whether his case was closed and he was free to continue his vacation and return to the country in future. He was assured that everything was fine. The Barclays finished their vacation, returned home, and a year later, in September 2017, they returned to Dubai to enjoy one more holiday. However, as soon as they arrived at the Dubai Airport, customs officers escorted him, and he spent three days in prison in shackles. It turned out that Mr. Barclay was still in the database as wanted for fake money distribution.

Currently, the man has been released on bail and staying at the hotel for two weeks, unable to leave the country. He’s waiting for his case and hoping to be released soon as he cannot afford to stay at the hotel longer. Carrying counterfeit money is a crime in Dubai, which may result in one year in jail or a fine of up to £1,000. The UK authorities try to provide help for the family.


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