15 Held On Bootlegging, Gay Prostitution Charges

RIYADH: Two Filipino workers were arrested on suspicion of engaging in homosexual prostitution and 13 other Filipinos were detained on charges of liquor trading and consumption in two separate raids here on Saturday.

Roussel R. Reyes, vice consul and third secretary who heads the Assistance to Nationals’ Section at the local Philippine Embassy in Riyadh, confirmed the report of the arrests on the alcohol charge, but not the charges involving homosexuality.

“A consular team of the Philippine Embassy will proceed on an assistance mission and visit the local prisons on Aug. 12 to find out the conditions of our workers, and probably we will know about the accusation of sodomy by that time.”

The two men suspected of homosexual acts were in the Kingdom illegally and were making a living selling alcohol and engaging in gay prostitution, police said. Members of the Kingdom’s religious police are investigating contacts found on the men’s mobile phones.

Gay rights are not recognized in the Middle East countries and the publication of any material promoting them is banned. Last month, 55 people were arrested at an alleged “gay party” in the Eastern Province city of Qatif. News reports said drugs and alcohol were found at the gathering, and two men were dressed as women.

— With input by Rudy Estimo Jr.

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