Dubai's warning shot to Westerners after Kaz Crossley is arrested

Dubai’s warning shot to Westerners: Campaign group says Kaz Crossley has been held up by Arab state as an example not to flout their strict drugs rules despite their push to lure in Brits with cut-price booze – as Love Island star ‘is set to be freed’

  • Reality star, 27, was held at Abu Dhabi airport while transferring to fly to Thailand
  • Kaz was filmed snorting suspicious white powder in Dubai during the pandemic 
  • Latest teasers, exclusives and updates for Winter Love Island 2023 right here

Love Island finalist Kaz Crossley has been ‘fully cooperating’ with officials in Dubai and hopes to be released from jail after four days in custody having reportedly been arrested over alleged drugs offences.

The British reality star, 27, was detained at Abu Dhabi airport while transferring to a flight to Thailand where she says she was going to carry out voluntary work. 

In 2020, she was filmed appearing to snort lines of white powder in Dubai when hordes of influencers flocked there to escape Covid-19 restrictions in the UK, claiming they were there for work.

Radha Sterling, Founder of Detained in Dubai, told MailOnline that Miss Crossley’s arrest is a stark warning for expats and influencers who are flooding into the Gulf state. The emirate has been liberalising alcohol and drugs laws to lure in more tourists who are increasingly likely to fall foul of the UAE’s ‘highly contradictory’ and strict laws, she said.

Miss Crossley was arrested on Monday and an insider claimed ‘that her name obviously raised a red flag’ when her passport was checked in the UAE’s capital. Experts have said she could face three months in Dubai Central Prison, where inmates claim to have been tortured and forced to live in filthy, over-crowded conditions.

Her agent said this afternoon: ‘Kaz has fully cooperated with officials and is free to continue her journey. Kaz was travelling through Abu Dhabi on her way to Thailand, where she was stopped by UAE police and taken in for questioning in relation to a matter that is not directly related to her but officials felt she could assist in their enquiries.’

Shock: Love Island star Kaz Crossley has been arrested and put in jail in Dubai (pictured) on suspicion of drug offences

In 2020 Kaz was filmed appearing to snort lines of suspicious white powder while in the United Arab Emirates at the height of the coronavirus pandemic

Kaz was one of many influencers who had travelled to Dubai for ‘work purposes’ when travel was banned for UK citizens during the height of the lockdown in 2020

She said: ‘The case of Kaz Crossley highlights not only the Emirates’ zero-tolerance policy towards narcotics, but more so the expansive license granted to law enforcement in the UAE to arrest and prosecute individuals without substantial evidence. 

‘It appears that Ms. Crossley has been detained based solely on a video posted on social media. Yet the mere suggestion that illegal drug use in the UAE is sufficient for the Emirati police and prosecutors to apprehend and very likely to convict her.

‘This is the sort of evidentiary and investigative hubris that has seen multiple foreign nationals imprisoned in the UAE, based exclusively on accusations by dubious informants or police bias. British citizen Andy Neal, for instance, was falsely imprisoned for over a year on drug charges in the Emirates in 2018 without a shred of evidence. We have seen several other cases in which foreigners have been jailed for entering the UAE after consuming drugs legally in their home countries, after informants alerted police to screen them upon arrival for the presence of narcotics in their systems’.

After her arrest in Abu Dhabi she has since been moved to a Dubai prison, where she was reportedly refused a phone call to her family, but was permitted to send a single email.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: ‘We are in contact with the local authorities following the arrest of a British national in the United Arab Emirates.’ 

Her agent told The Sun she will soon be leaving. 

Dubai has recently liberalised its drugs laws with first-time offenders given a minimum of three months in prison and a fine of between £4,559 and £22,799. Previously, offenders would have faced a minimum of four years in prison for any drug use. 

After serving jail time, suspects are then deported to their home state – in Miss Crossley’s case to the UK – and banned from returning to the UAE. Sentences for drug-trafficking can include the death penalty.

Living it up: A picture of Kaz posted on Instagram was captioned: ‘So clean when I pull up to the scene’

A policeman enters Dubai’s Central Prison in the United Arab Emirates

Last month experts told MailOnline that a record number of Britons could find themselves in a Dubai prison as a consequence of the decision to slash the cost of booze to lure in more tourists also being courted by Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Human rights groups are predicting a culture clash in the Muslim Gulf. 

The Detained in Dubai group believes thousands of Britons have been arrested and hundreds jailed in recent years due to the UAE’s strict and ‘highly contradictory’ laws. 

The authorities in Dubai have not confirmed the reason for Miss Crossley’s arrest, but around two years ago the influencer, wearing an orange mini dress, was seen holding a nostril as she snorted white powder during a party in the city.

It is likely that her name was flagged up when she tried to leave for Thailand as UAE authorities are still probing the old video.

Miss Crossley, whose mother is Thai, posted her last Instagram post five days ago when she took a short trip to Dublin.

A source told The Sun: ‘She was looking forward to getting back to Thailand where she has been doing voluntary work and all of a sudden she is languishing in a Dubai jail.

‘Everyone knows how strict they are about drugs over there. She must be terrified. She had only stopped off in Abu Dhabi to catch a connecting flight but her name has obviously raised a red flag.

‘She was allowed to send just one email and wasn’t even allowed to make a phone call.’

Miss Crossley’s representatives have been contacted by MailOnline for comment. 

Kaz Crossley and Josh Denzel made the final of Love Island 2018 – but their relationship didn’t last

Kaz shot to fame on the ITV2 show in 2018 and has been influencing online ever since

Miss Crossley was one of many influencers who had travelled to Dubai for ‘work purposes’ when travel was banned for UK citizens during the height of lockdown.

Just days before the video of her appearing to snort white powder emerged, Miss Crossley revealed she had purchased her second property: a new house in Manchester.

An army of British influencers and reality TV stars have been recruited to entice tourists from the UK to holiday in the UAE city, where the 30 per cent tax on alcohol was axed on New Year’s Eve.

Millie Court and Chloe Burrows from Love Island saw in 2023 in Dubai while promoting its bars, restaurants and businesses, sharing numerous videos on Instagram of them downing shots, dancing in clubs and sunbathing by pools as the tax changes came in. 

If the 30 per cent tax cut is passed on, the price of drinking would be cut from around £12 per pint to around £8. A glass of wine would be around £6 and a cocktail around £10 – and would be even cheaper during the happy hours that are common in Dubai hotels. The cost of wine and spirits is already dropping in licensed shops. 

Despite vehement denials, the ultra-conservative Saudi regime is also said to be considering allowing drinking for the first time – and is trying to diversify from oil by organising events such as major music festivals, including one last year marred by claims that women were routinely sexually assaulted. 

Chloe Burrows downs shots and takes a dip in a private pool during her Dubai break in January 

Chloe poses by a pool in the popular holiday destination, visited by 12million people last year. More are expected this year but human rights experts warn that more could fall foul of Dubai’s conservative laws

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is bent on securing the 2030 World Cup, using Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as ambassadors. 

Dubai is the financial, trade and tourism hub of the UAE, a major oil exporter which has gradually loosened the shackles on drinking while using global stars and influencers to promote its image as the party capital of the Gulf.

Its hospitality businesses have already been praising the tax cut on Instagram, which is already full of posts of models, often scantily clad, drinking champagne or cocktails by a pool or a skyscraper balcony. 

The state has a population of 3.3million and expats outnumber locals by at least nine to one, and the tax cut is likely to please many of them, including the huge group of Brits there.

More than 12million international visitors came in the first 11 months of 2022 – double the number in 2021 – but despite raving about the weather and luxury accommodation, there are often complaints about the price of alcoholic drinks.

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