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UAE police dismiss 'silly' killer perfume rumors

Unanimous SMS claims it killed 18 people

The United Arab Emirates has formally denied rumors being spread through mobile text messages, claiming that a killer perfume is circulated at local markets.

Abu Dhabi police dismissed the rumors on Monday, saying the aim of spreading such text messages is simply "to achieve commercial gains".

The text message, a copy of which was received by AlArabiya.net, reads: "Some vendors, standing at traffic lights or walking through malls, offer to sell you perfumes. That perfume contains a fatal gas. In just four days, 18 people have been killed and 35 hospitalized and admitted to intensive care units. Send this message out to as many as you can and help save a soul."

The message has caused deep concerns across the Emirates, with many falling into the trap of resending it. To make things worse, it is common across U.A.E. malls to see employees standing in front of stores to offer free sprays of perfume as a way to attract customers.

Abu Dhabi Police Chief Colonel Maktoum Sharifi, however, denied the whole matter, warning against spreading such "illogical rumors".

"By analyzing the text of the message, you can easily detect how ignorant and stupid the authors are. How can something like this, with such a high death toll, be ignored by health and security officials?" Sharifi told journalists.

He has not ruled out the possible existence of "profiteers" behind the spreading of such rumors, "aiming at destroying successful business institutions for other competitors".

A text message, claiming many people in the U.A.E. were infected with bird flu, was received by many and caused a similar panic. But hopsitals never received any such cases, Sharifi reminded journalists.