Love Island finalist Kaz Crossley has been arrested in the United Arab Emirates on suspicion of drug offences and held in a Dubai prison, likely for at least three months, it emerged today.
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.
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.
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.’
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.
Miss Crossley’s case is a stark warning for expats. Last month experts said 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 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.
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.
202 total views