Middle East

Dubai police crack down on speed-seekers by seizing 81 cars

File photo of high-end police cars in Dubai Image copyright AP
Image caption Fast, luxury cars are hugely popular in Dubai - even among the police force

Speed-seekers in Dubai have been found using the emirate's long, straight highways to hold illegal races, reaching speeds of nearly 200mph (300km/h), police say.

But their pastime could be a thing of the past after police seized 81 vehicles they say were being raced.

The number plates had been taken off to make the cars harder to identify.

Drivers will face 100,000 dirham fines ($27,000; £19,000) and owners will need to pay 50,000 dirham, local media say.

Dubai police chief Maj Gen Khamis Al Mazinah said: "Traffic patrols tracked a number of reckless drivers and seized 81 vehicles", though he did not specify when.

He said the owners "were using or preparing to use their cars for illegal races. Other cars were caught in dangerous performances and reckless driving that endangered road users."

He said some of the drivers reached speeds of 196mph while trying to escape police patrols.

If the owners do not pay the fine within three months, police have the right to sell the vehicles, the Khaleej Times newspaper reports.

Luxury cars are hugely popular in the wealthy Gulf emirate. Even the police force drive Lamborghinis, Porsches and Aston Martins.

Transport officials said last year that the number of vehicles in Dubai had doubled in the previous eight years, giving them more cars per person than New York or London, AFP news agency reports.

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