ABU DHABI, July 11 (Xinhua) -- Lenders in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) began hiring British debt collectors to chase defaulters who have fled back to Britain without settling their debts, a Dubai-based business journal reported Sunday.
"I have spoken to people who have said they are being chased by debt collectors," Arabian Business quoted Radha Stirling, founder of Detained in Dubai, a London-based charity that advised people who have fallen into legal trouble in the emirate, as saying in a report on its website.
But the British debt collectors "are not following through on their threats" as they do not have any power to force the repayment of loans owed to UAE lenders, she added, saying, "I think it is a scare tactic and I think the Brits are on to it and pretty much ignore them anyway."
"As there are so many debt collection agencies in the UK, it is very easy to employ one and their terms are quite good," Stirling said.
She believed that only those who owed a considerable amount of money were being chased in Britain "as it wouldn't be worth chasing the smaller debts."
In January, Dubai mortgage lender Tamweel reportedly hired a company to pursue an Indian customer and threatened to take legal action in India and the UAE if the customer did not repay its loan.
Under UAE law, bouncing a check is a criminal offense that can result in a jail sentence. Blank checks are commonly used to underwrite financial arrangements, such as credit cards or bank loans, to guarantee future payments, according to Arabian Business.
A research by the UAE's RAK Bank last year showed that up to 2, 500 UAE residents skipped the Gulf nation each month without settling their debts, it said.