Image by saraab™ via FlickrSometimes you find a story in Gulf News that goes beyond the ordinary, that is in a class all of its own. They usually originate from Ras Al Khaimah and involve herds of suicidal sheep, ghosts in caves or escaped deadly predators that some lunatic has been keeping as pets.
My treat today was the news that a shopkeeper in Ajman has been arrested for selling fake Dubai police uniform buttons. It's obviously no treat for the shopkeeper, who'll currently be in nick somewhere while they work out what to chuck at him charge-wise ("Let's do him under the 1986 official gold buttons forgery act!"), but the story itself has many touches of manic genius. It's here in all its glory.
Dubai police are not at all happy at the shop flogging copies of their buttons, as said buttons are specially made for them by a company in Italy. In fact, the danger of such buttonfoolery are pointed out to GN by a forensic expert and criminologist with Dubai police, who tells the newspaper, "These buttons could be used by suspects impersonating a police officer."
"I'm a policeman. Give me all your money."
"Show us yer buttons!"
"Okay, you're legit. Will you take a cheque?"
The criminologist uses his keen understanding of the recidivist's mindset to conjecture that Dubai's Boys in Green might have been buying the buttons from the shop owner whose establishment is suspected, GN tells us, of being a tailor's shop, in order to repair their uniforms on the quiet. Apparently any policeman found ruining his uniform or losing his military costume accessories could face a military fine or trial.
So rather than face the consequences of their actions, they've been sneaking up to Ajman and getting black market buttons sewn on? Surely not - not policemen! There has to be some other explanation.
Won't it be wonderful if the shop owner had the presence of mind to keep a customer list? This could do for Gulf News what the parliamentary expenses scandal did for The Telegraph.
ButtonGate! We await the next installment of this one with bated breath...