DUBAI Aug 20 The United Arab Emirates has
advised its citizens to stay away from several shopping and
nightlife districts in central London because of the danger of
crime, a warning that comes after two violent attacks on Emirati
tourists in the capital this year.
London is one of the most popular destinations for Gulf Arab
tourists looking to escape brutal summer heat. Many flock to the
capital's most expensive areas such as Mayfair and
However, reports of an attack on three Emirati women and
their children at a London hotel in April and a masked robbery
of an Emirati couple in their London apartment shocked the
public in the UAE, where crime rates are low.
A statement on the UAE's foreign ministry website told
citizens to avoid areas "where pickpocketing, fraud and theft
are frequent and where it is not advised to live".
An attached map singled out Edgware Road, the area between
Marble Arch and Tottenham Court Road, and the Oxford Circus and
Bond Street area.
It also identified Shepherd's Bush and Queensway as areas
that were "less safe".
When asked about the UAE foreign ministry's advice, the
Metropolitan Police said London was one of the safest major
cities in the world and that crime was falling.
"There is absolutely nowhere in London which should be
avoided," Metropolitan Police Service Commander Makhdum Chishty
said in a statement.
"We understand the incident involving Emirati nationals
earlier this year was shocking, but it was also very, very
Emiratis interviewed by Reuters were not concerned by the
warning. Basma Al-Mazmi, a 20-year-old Emirati, said she was not
"If I didn't go to these places then where would I go?
London is all about these places, you know?" she said.
Amna Mohamed, a university student, said that some Emirati
tourists drew unnecessary attention to themselves by wearing
extravagant clothes and accessories.
"I would still go because I know those places and I know
what to wear when going to them," she said.
(Reporting by Noura Al-Sharif; Additional reporting by Kylie
MacLellan in London; Editing by Angus McDowall and Raissa