In April, Dubai police arrested a beggar making more than AED 270,000 ($73,500) a month. The story apparently inspired a Chinese teenager to the extent that he traveled all the way to the United Arab Emirates, stowing away in an Emirates passenger plane.
The 16-year-old, identified only by his family name Xu, was discovered hiding in the cargo area of the aircraft flying from Shanghai to Dubai on May 27.
Chinese state media reported the teen is from Bazhong City in China's Sichuan province. He reportedly climbed a fence at Shanghai's Pudong Airport and snuck onto the plane, where he remained hidden for the entire nearly 9.5-hour flight.
Xu was arrested upon his arrival in Dubai. It was later revealed that he wanted to travel to the Gulf city because he had heard beggars could make almost 500,000 yuan ($76,000) a month there.
“I heard there is gold to be found everywhere in Dubai. Even the worst beggar is able to earn 470,000 yuan a month,” he said, according to South China Morning Post.
Xu was aware his actions were illegal but assumed his status as a minor would not get him arrested.
As it turns out, he was wrong.
The teenager, who is currently being investigated, will probably be deported and blacklisted from the country.
"I hope that Chinese citizens will not follow such rumors," said Ma Xuliang, China's deputy consul general in Dubai, in the wake of the incident. "The UAE has strict laws banning begging, violators of which will be punished in accordance with the law."
Emirati officials confirmed the incident, stating the Dubai police are currently investigating the matter.