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Attempts to smuggle in arms foiled
Riyadh, 1st March 2001

Security authorities on Tuesday foiled attempts to smuggle in arms and a large quantity of ammunition through the southern and northern border crossings.

Security officers stopped a man in the southern border town of Jizan while trying to smuggle in 146,000 bullets in a Toyota jeep, informed sources said without identifying the smuggler.

The sources said the smuggler tried to cross a checkpoint in his jeep with cartons of hidden ammunition. “When the officers checked the vehicle they found 50 cartons each with 720 Kalashnikov bullets, 40 cartons each with 250 Belgian bullets and 20 cartons each with 5,000 bullets (make not identified),” the sources said, adding that the authorities also stopped smuggling of 100 kilograms of qat.

At Jadeeda Arar border point, in northern Saudi Arabia, customs officers seized an unspecified quantity of weapons and ammunition hidden in a bus carrying Daghestani pilgrims.

Informed sources told Arab News that the arms and ammunitions confiscated from the bus included 42 air guns, 45 pistols, 26 bayonets and three bags containing bullets. They said the officers arrested the bus driver and handed him to security authorities for questioning.

Two held for forging Haj permits: In another development, two expatriate workers were arrested in Riyadh recently for allegedly forging Haj and travel permits. Col. Abdul Rahman Al-Sayegh, director of the department for the supervision of expatriates in Riyadh, said his officers held an expatriate for forging Haj permits at his hideout after watching his activities.

He said the man forged Haj permits and sold them to expatriates at SR400 per document. Preliminary investigations found that the man worked as self-styled “muaqeb” or government relations officer, Sayegh said, adding that he exploited the situation of expatriate pilgrims to make money. The Passport Department issues Haj permits free of charge.

Sayegh said the department also held an expatriate barber while selling forged travel permits at the rate of SR50. The man gave travel documents to expatriates without the permission of their sponsors, he pointed out.

“The two fraudsters will be handed to a special committee for further investigation and face imprisonment and deportation,” he added.

Meanwhile, Abdullah Al-Sawat, head of the Haj permits section, said several applicants had made contracts with organizations which had already used up their quota. Some applicants did not even produce the contracts with the service organizations.

The Interior Ministry has announced that all domestic pilgrims, both Saudis and expatriates, should apply for Haj permits with a service contract attached. The Haj permit office in Riyadh receives over 4,000 inquiries daily and over 30,000 permits have already been issued, Al-Sawat said.

SOURCE: Arab News 

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01 March 2001 07:13:00 PM

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