Ex-Mediacorp DJ Yanwei Was Detained In Dubai Mall For Taking Selfies; Security Claimed That It’s “Illegal” & Threatened To Call The Police
The former YES 933 jock tells 8 Days about “the very bad experience”, adding that he doesn’t know “what other motives they have” for singling him out.
But Tan Yanwei's ordeal at Dubai Mall did indeed happen, even if he does not have pictures or videos to show for it. The former YES 933 DJ was detained for two hours in Dubai Mall, and was even threatened with police action by the mall’s security staff for — wait for it — taking selfie videos outside the mall.
Yanwei, a content creator and vlogger for the Outcasts YouTube Channel alongside Xixi Lim, recently shared on his socials that he visited the sprawling Dubai Mall in end-April. “I was detained and I was almost brought to the police station by Dubai Mall. So what was my crime? I was taking some selfie videos outside the mall — not inside, outside the mall,” he said on a video.
He recounted the harrowing experience to 8Days in greater detail, and explained that he wanted to film videos for an Outcasts vlog. He first took videos inside the mall with his mobile phone without any issues. It was when he stepped out that he decided to take videos with his point-and-shoot camera that things went wrong.
“At first, a security guard came over and asked what I was doing. I told him I’m making some videos for my own social media. He didn’t stop me, but he just said he’ll check if it’s okay or not. Then a second security guard came over and he was a bit fiercer, and said that it’s not allowed and threatened to report me to the police,” Yanwei tells 8Days.
The social media influencer then offered to delete the video and leave. He was told by a third security guard later that he was not allowed to post anything on social media. Yanwei then pointed out that everyone else was doing the same thing, albeit with phones instead of digital cameras, to which the security guard replied: “Yes, it’s all illegal.”
The guards insisted that he go to the management office with them to settle the issue, and on the way there, they reiterated several times that they were going to call the police.
Yanwei ended up in the management office for about two hours, discussing the matter with the mall's management and the guards.
“At the management office, the higher management staff told me that [whatever the security guard claimed to be illegal] is actually allowed. So I didn’t do anything [wrong]. So selfie videos [at the mall] are totally fine, using the camera is totally fine as well,” Yanwei told 8Days.
During the two-hour discussions, the security guards denied that they had ever threatened report Yanwei to the police. “They lied in front of their management. I think it’s a very serious matter,” said Yanwei. "They could’ve cooked up another story to say I did something wrong or even more serious, and I would have no proof ’cos I’m not allowed to film [anything]. If the higher management hadn’t stepped in, [my fate] would be in the hands of the security who were going to call the police,”
He also recalled how the investigation came to an abrupt end.
“Halfway through the discussion, the management went outside with the security guards to have a private chat. But later on, only the management staff returned, without the security guards. He said that it was time for them to knock off, so they had to let them leave. Yes, while I was still inside the room. The issue is still not settled, how can you let your security guard go?” Yanwei recounted.
The incident took place on a Friday, and the management staff promised to follow up with Yanwei by Monday. “It’s been [over] a month, and there is still no reply,” he said. 8Days has also reached out to Dubai Mall for comment.
It’s been close to two months since the incident, and Yanwei is still unsure of why he was singled out among all the other selfie-taking tourists in the first place. “I don’t know what other motives they have. There are people who’ve DM-ed me and said that it could be racial, or that they actually wanted some money [from me].”
His videos have garnered a total of nearly 110K views on TikTok and Instagram since he posted them, with many netizens surprised that taking photos and videos of Dubai Mall was "illegal".
“It’s not illegal. It’s the security guard who might have a different agenda,” Yanwei wrote in response to a TikTok comment. Others questioned why the guards stopped him in the first place, and one netizen remarked: “I think the guard wanted a bribe?” Yanwei replied: “Not sure. Could be possible.”
But Yanwei also mentioned in a separate comment that it’s not like this everywhere in Dubai, and said that other people “are still quite friendly and reasonable”.