Prison and fine await people posing as cops

Muscat: Oman Penal Law stipulates strict punishments against individuals who pose as government officials, including that of police officers or other competent inspection officials.

On Monday, the police in North al Batinah arrested seven persons on charges of impersonation of police officers in different locations. Such acts are committed with the intention of extortion of money in particular.

“The so-called impersonators target vulnerable individuals who can be robbed of money through coercion at crowded or isolated places with no possible eyewitnesses to the incident,” said one such victim of an incident in Ruwi a few years go.

“A person approached me as a competent officer, checked my documents and took away the wallet with money. He returned my ID documents though.”  According to Article 189 of the Omani Penal Law, “Whoever impersonates the capacity of a public official shall be punished by imprisonment for a period no less than a month and not exceeding a year, and a fine no less than RO 100 and not exceeding RO 500.”h

The same article adds, “The impersonator shall be punished by imprisonment for a period no less than a year and not exceeding three years, and a fine no less than RO 500 and not exceeding RO 1,000, if he exercises, without having the right to, the functions of a public office.”

Article 190 of the Penal Law stipulates imprisonment for a period no less than ten days and not exceeding a year, and a fine no less than RO 100 and not exceeding RO 300 if a person wears, in public and without having the right to, an official uniform or carries honorary ordinances or insignia of the State or of another state.

The same article applies if the person unduly assumes a scientific or academic title, a military rank, or a public representation capacity.
The impersonator shall be also punished by imprisonment for a period no less than a year and not exceeding three years, and a fine no less than RO 500 and not exceeding RO 1,000, if he actually exercises the office or job he is impersonating.

The article 191 stipulates that whoever offends or threatens a public official shall be punished by imprisonment for a period no less than a month and not exceeding a year, and a fine no less than RO 100 and not exceeding RO 500, or one of those two punishments.