JEDDAH: Smugglers caught crossing people into the Kingdom could face severe fines and jail time as authorities continue to crackdown on illegal immigrants.
“The penalty for smugglers or those involved in facilitating the illegal entry or movement of illegal immigrants in the Kingdom, provide shelter or provide any form of assistance will face 5-10 years in jail and a fine of SR1 million ($266,000), confiscation of vehicles or property intended to transport or house them,” Border Guard official spokesman Col. Misfir bin Ghannam Al-Qiraini told Al-Ekhbariya news channel.
He also said smugglers and their facilitators will also be named and shamed for committing this major crime. In over three years, more than 5.6 million violators have been arrested in Saudi Arabia. The campaign, which began in late 2017, recorded more than half-a-million border violations.
Last March, Saudi Arabia’s Attorney General Sheikh Saud bin Abdullah Al-Mujib said that smuggling was a form of organized crime run by networks that could have grave security, health, economic and social implications for society.
According to an official report, there have been 5,615,884 offenders, including 4,304,206 for violating residency regulations, 802,125 for labor violations, and 509,553 for border violations.
The report said that 116,908 people were arrested while trying to cross the border into the Kingdom: 43 percent were Yemeni citizens, 54 percent were Ethiopians and 3 percent were other nationalities.
In addition, 9,508 people were arrested for trying to cross into neighboring countries, and 8,222 were arrested for involvement in transporting and harboring violators.
Some 2,766 Saudis were arrested for harboring violators against local laws, of whom five were being detained pending the completion of procedures.
The total number of violators being subjected to legal procedures was 53,916, including 49,954 men and 3,962 women.
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