Prank creates panic in Dubai mall


By Amira Agarib

A children’s prank turned serious on Friday with the police having to evacuate Dubai Mall following a gas leak scare.

The Dubai Police on Sunday said there was no report of injuries after a gas leak scare in the mall on Friday evening.

The gas was later identified as helium, which is used to blow balloons. Two youngsters were arrested in connection with the incident, a senior police official said.

Brigadier Khalil Ibarhim Al Mansouri, Director of the General Department of Criminal Investigation, said that the spread of gas led the mall management and police to take necessary precautions, including evacuating the mall.

He said that police investigations revealed that the duo had sprayed the gas on the ventilators located close to the cinemas in the mall resulting in the rapid spread of the gas.

Al Mansouri said that the police teams found the youngsters near the spot and when questioned, they admitted that they had committed the act. They said they were just having fun and didn’t know that the gas would spread so quickly.

He said that the spread of the  the gas created a state of panic among the visitors of the mall.

Al Mansouri said that the police have initiated legal action against the duo, but would call their parents or guardians. They will have to undertake that their children will not repeat such acts and if they do so they will have face punitive action. Al Mansouri said that Dubai Mall and all commercial centres in the city are safe, and a specialised section of Criminal Investigation Department is taking care of the security situations in the shopping centres.

He termed the youngsters’ act as irresponsible, and called upon parents to keep a watch on their children. Parents should educate their children not to carry such instruments, and instruct them to behave in the right manner, Al Mansouri added.