When one of your cheques(*) bounces or you are late with the installments of a loan or a credit card a warrant of arrest will be issued by the court.
This means, the police comes to your office or your home or finds the warrant whenever they put your details in a computer (airport!), and arrests you. The maximum time they can keep you in jail is 30 days at once. If you still don’t pay, again 30 days, and so forth.
(*) cheques are the main instrument of payment, because a bank transfer from one UAE bank to another UAE bank costs between 50.– and 100.– AED!