Arrests Made for Selling Fake Hajj Identity Cards in Saudi Arabia

Fourteen individuals from India, Egypt, Pakistan, and Indonesia have been detained by Saudi authorities for allegedly distributing counterfeit Hajj identity cards. This crackdown emphasizes the kingdom’s dedication to preserving the sanctity of the Hajj pilgrimage.

In Mecca, individuals on visit visas were apprehended, and security forces seized money, seals, cellphones, and computers used in the fraudulent operation. This follows recent arrests of 11 expatriates promoting fake Hajj tours. Authorities also confiscated falsified pilgrimage permits and fraudulent Hajj bracelets.

Lt. Gen. Mohammed Al Bassami, Chief of Public Security and head of the Hajj Security Committee, announced the interception of 140 fake Hajj campaigns and the detention of 64 transporters for violating Hajj regulations. Unauthorized Hajj participants face strict penalties, including fines, deportation, and imprisonment, enforced by the Saudi government.

So far, the kingdom has welcomed over 1.3 million pilgrims, highlighting the importance of strict measures to ensure the pilgrimage’s safety and sanctity. Unauthorized pilgrims can be fined up to SR10,000 ($2,665 USD), with repeat offenders facing harsher penalties. Transporters of illegal pilgrims risk up to six months in jail and fines of up to SR50,000 ($13,327 USD).

Saudi authorities are working closely with Somalia to ensure a smooth Hajj experience for Somali pilgrims. The Somali Hajj committee, formed in October 2023, recently met with Saudi officials in Mecca to inspect accommodations and improve services. Despite the high cost of the pilgrimage, which remains a contentious issue, approximately 11,000 Somali pilgrims are expected this year.

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