Police in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka have launched a crackdown on organised gangs who force physically disabled people to beg on the streets before stealing their earnings, an officer said on Saturday.
Two men and a woman suspected of running a network of beggars in Dhaka were arrested in a slum this week and the hunt is on for scores of other gangs operating in the capital, city police chief Syed Abdur Rouf said.
"We had information these people crippled the beggars and then made them beg in the capital. We rescued eight beggars from their custody most were physically disabled and diseased," Rouf said.
"They were taking away all the beggars' income in exchange for meals and accommodation," he said, adding police were also looking for other gangs doing "this heinous act in the city."
The crackdown was launched a month after the country's newly elected government enacted a law banning begging and made it punishable by a month in jail.
The legislation is aimed at eradicating begging within five years in one of the world's poorest countries which has no social security safety net and where some 40 per cent of its 144 million people live below one dollar a day.