Love Island finalist Kaz Crossley has “fully cooperated” with officials in Dubai and hopes to be released after four days in detention after he was reportedly arrested on alleged drug-related offences.
The British reality star, 27, was arrested at Abu Dhabi airport while boarding a flight to Thailand, where she says she is volunteering.
In 2020, she was filmed appearing to sniff lines of white powder in Dubai as hordes of influencers flocked there to escape the UK’s Covid-19 restrictions, claiming they were there for work.
Radha Stirling, founder of Detained in Dubai, said that Miss Crossley’s arrest was a stark warning to expats and influencers flocking to the Gulf state.
The emirate has liberalized alcohol and drug laws to attract more tourists, who are increasingly at odds with the UAE’s “highly contradictory” and strict laws, she said.
Miss Crossley was arrested on Monday and a source claimed “her name obviously had a red flag flying” when her passport was checked in the UAE capital. Experts said she could face three months in Dubai Central Jail, where inmates say they have been tortured and forced to live in filthy, overcrowded conditions.
Her agent said this afternoon: ‘Kaz has fully cooperated with the officers and is free to continue on her journey. Kaz passed through Abu Dhabi on her way to Thailand, where she was stopped by UAE police and questioned about a matter not directly concerning her, but officers felt she could help with their investigation.
Love Island star Kaz Crossley has been arrested and jailed in Dubai on suspicion of drug-related offences.
In 2020, Kaz was filmed appearing to be snorting lines of suspicious white powder in the United Arab Emirates at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
Kaz was one of many influencers who traveled to Dubai for “work purposes” when travel was banned for UK citizens during the height of lockdown in 2020.
Ms Stirling added: “The case of Kaz Crossley underscores not only the Emirates’ zero tolerance policy towards narcotics, but even more the wide-ranging license granted to law enforcement agencies in the UAE to arrest and prosecute without substantial evidence.”
“It appears that Miss Crossley was only arrested based on a video posted on social media. But the mere indication of illegal drug use in the UAE is enough for the Emirati police and prosecutors to arrest and most likely convict them.
“This is the type of evidentiary and investigative hubris that has seen several foreign nationals detained in the UAE solely on the basis of allegations from shady whistleblowers or police bias.
“British citizen Andy Neal, for example, was wrongly jailed in the Emirates in 2018 for over a year on drug-related charges without any evidence whatsoever. We have seen several other cases where foreigners have been detained for entering the UAE after using drugs legally in their home countries, after whistleblowers alerted the police to check them on arrival for the presence of narcotics in their systems to check.
After her arrest in Abu Dhabi, Miss Crossley was transferred to a prison in Dubai where she was reportedly denied a phone call to her family but was allowed to send a single email.
A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We are in contact with local authorities following the arrest of a British national in the United Arab Emirates.”
Dubai recently liberalized its drug laws, meaning first-time offenders face a minimum of three months in prison and a fine of between £4,559 and £22,799. Previously, offenders would have faced at least four years in prison for each drug use.
After serving the prison sentence, suspects are then deported to their home country and are not allowed to return to the UAE. Penalties for drug trafficking can include the death penalty.
A police officer enters Dubai Central Jail in the United Arab Emirates where she is being held.
Last month, experts told MailOnline that a record number of Britons could find themselves in a Dubai jail as a result of a decision to cut alcohol costs to attract more tourists, who are also being courted by Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Human rights groups predict a culture clash in the Muslim Gulf.
The group Detained in Dubai believes thousands of Britons have been arrested and hundreds imprisoned in recent years due to the UAE’s strict and “highly contradictory” laws.
Authorities in Dubai have not confirmed the reason for Miss Crossley’s arrest, but around two years ago the influencer was seen in an orange mini dress holding one nostril as she sniffed white powder during a party in the city.
It is likely that her name was given when she attempted to leave for Thailand as UAE authorities are still investigating the old video.
Miss Crossley, whose mother is Thai, made her last Instagram post five days ago while on a short trip to Dublin.
A source told The Sun: “She was looking forward to returning to Thailand where she was volunteering and suddenly she’s languishing in a Dubai jail.
“Everyone knows how strict they are with drugs over there. She must be afraid. She had only stopped in Abu Dhabi to catch a connecting flight, but her name has apparently been flying a red flag.
“She was only allowed to send an email and not even make a phone call.”
Kaz Crossley and Josh Denzel reached the Love Island 2018 finale – but their relationship didn’t last.
Kaz rose to fame on the ITV2 show in 2018 and has been influencing online ever since.
Miss Crossley was one of many influencers who traveled to Dubai for “work purposes” when travel was banned for British citizens during the height of lockdown.
Just days before video emerged of her appearing to be snorting white powder, Miss Crossley announced she had bought her second property: a new home in Manchester.
An army of British influencers and reality TV stars have been recruited to lure tourists from Britain to the UAE city, which has scrapped the 30 per cent alcohol tax on New Year’s Eve.
Love Island’s Millie Court and Chloe Burrows spotted Dubai in 2023 while promoting its bars, restaurants and shops, sharing numerous videos on Instagram of them taking downshots, dancing in clubs and sunning themselves by pools as the tax changes arrived.
If the 30 per cent tax cut is passed on, the price of drinking would drop from around £12 a pint to around £8. A glass of wine would cost around £6 and a cocktail around £10 – and it would be even cheaper during happy hour, which is common in Dubai hotels. Wine and spirits prices are already falling in licensed stores.
Despite vehement denials, the ultra-conservative Saudi regime is also said to be considering allowing drinking for the first time – and is trying to differentiate itself from oil by organizing events such as major music festivals, including one marred last year by claims that women were routinely sexually harassed.
Chloe Burrows snaps 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, which was visited by 12 million people last year. More are expected this year, but human rights experts warn that more could run afoul of Dubai’s conservative laws.
Dubai is the financial, commercial and tourism hub of the UAE, a major oil exporter that has gradually loosened the shackles of drinking while using global stars and influencers to promote its image as the party capital of the Gulf.
The hospitality industry has already praised the tax cut on Instagram, which is already teeming with posts of models, often scantily clad, sipping champagne or cocktails by a pool or skyscraper balcony.
The state has a population of 3.3 million and expats outnumber locals by at least nine to one and the tax cut is likely to please many of them, including the large group of Britons there.
More than 12 million international visitors came in the first 11 months of 2022 – twice as many as in 2021 – but despite ravings about the weather and luxury accommodation, there are often complaints about the price of alcoholic beverages.