The Dubai Police Department arrested 40 cross-dressing tourists in malls and other public places, the Dubai-based daily Gulf News reported.

The tourists were interrogated by the Public Prosecution and were ordered to leave Dubai.

The arrests were part of a campaign announced by the local police in late May, which was aimed at “protecting society from the dangers posed by transvestites.”

“Dubai Police have made up their mind to tackle this problem strictly,” Dubai Police Chief Lt.-Gen. Dahi Khalfan Tamim said upon launching the campaign.

“Any man who dresses up and behaves like a woman in public, or vice versa, will be legally questioned and legal action will be taken against him,” said Tamim, adding that the fact transvestites were frequently being spotted in public places was against the United Arab Emirates’ traditions and social values.

Tamim expressed his view that studying in a mixed environment was the reason behind this phenomenon and called on the Social Affairs Ministry to study the issue.

The local police also asked preachers to highlight the “dangers” of the issue during their Friday sermons.

Meanwhile, a British couple arrested for having sex on a Dubai beach on July 5 was referred yesterday to the Public Prosecution.

The police said that 36-year-old Michelle Palmer and 34-year-old Vince Acor had been accused of obscenity and consensual sex under the influence of liquor.

The Public Prosecution will investigate the case and will then refer the matter to a Dubai court.