Several Asians Arrested In Riyadh Raids

RIYADH, 27 March 2005 — Security officials have unearthed a number of drug, liquor and pornography dens during their raids here yesterday.

“A total of 37 expatriates, mostly Asians, have been detained on charges of drug-trafficking alone,” a security official said.

A Pakistani in possession of six kg of heroine and an Indian with 3.5 kg of hashish have been taken into custody, while five expatriates, including three Filipinos, have been arrested for sodomy.

A Filipino, who allegedly was running a dancing club for boys and girls, has been nabbed.

According to reports, security officials also confiscated three million fake and pornographic CDs, a huge quantity of military uniforms, along with illegal phones and fax devices.

The raids also led to the closure of 23 illegal phone centers, which would have inflicted millions of riyals worth of losses on legitimate local companies.

The swoop also led to the detention of two fake doctors, who had been duping poor expatriate patients. Shutters also were slammed shut on a few warehouses and desolate buildings used for producing intoxicating and forbidden materials, such as betel spices (pan masala) and tobacco products.

More intensive searches are continuing in the area. A few other districts of the capital city also may soon be raided.

“We do have knowledge about the raids, but we have not received the list of Filipinos currently being detained,” said Ambassador Bahnarim A. Guinomla of the Philippines Embassy. “Once we receive a list with the necessary information, the mission will do whatever it can for its workers in cooperation with Saudi officials.”

A joint task force composed of personnel from Anti-Narcotics Commission, Traffic Department, Passports Office, religious police and other law-enforcement agencies have been ordered to conduct raids in the commercial complexes and residential areas located along Al-Batha Road.

Al-Batha is well-known more for its clandestine activities, and police say the place has been a hideout for expatriate criminals and overstayers.

“The whole area during the raids looked like a battlefield,” said Karim Lala, who owns a grocery shop in the area. “At one time, you could see some 10 to 50 vehicles with armed security officials rushing toward us.”

Lala, however, expressed his satisfaction. “Most of the roadside vendors have fled, and the whole area has been cleaned,” he said.

More than 181 roadside shops and stalls have been closed following the raids, making enough space for pedestrians to walk comfortably.

Add Comment