updated 7/17/2008 2:46:49 PM ET 2008-07-17T18:46:49

Police in the Gulf tourist hub of Dubai say they've detained 17 foreign men for allegedly being gay and wearing women's clothing in malls and other public places.

Police spokesman Zuhair Horoun says the men were either visiting or working in Dubai. He says they were detained Wednesday but would not elaborate.

Dubai's Gulf News reported Thursday that police detained "40 cross-dressing tourists." The discrepancy in the numbers couldn't immediately be explained.

The paper quotes Dubai's police chief as saying the arrests are part of a campaign against "transvestites."

Despite Dubai's Western outlook, homosexuality is illegal in the Muslim city-state.

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