Makkah (ob)Scene

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Makkah (ob)Scene
07/14/01 at 23:39:13
JEDDAH - In a major crackdown in Makkah's Mansoura district,
security officers have arrested 176 foreigners for alleged involvement
in various crimes. It was second such operation in the city in less
than two weeks, press reports said yesterday.

According to Al-Madinah newspaper, about 500 officers of a rapid
deployment force, the Civil Defense, Makkah security police, traffic police
and the Saudi Red Crescent took part in the operation which started at
11.30 p.m. on Monday and continued till early morning.

Police seized about 3,000 looted items including cassette recorders,
washing machines, air-conditioners and refrigerators, the Okaz newspaper
said. They also seized pornographic videocassettes, fake stamps and
materials used for practicing black magic. Contaminated chickens stored in
refrigerators were also impounded.

During the raid, police discovered that overstayers had been running 30
unlicensed restaurants in the area. Al-Madinah said Monday's raid also
bared seven gambling joints and brothels.

Before storming the criminal hideouts, police had cordoned doff the
area and blocked all roads leading to the old district. Brig. Muhammad
Al-Mulaihem, acting director of Makkah police, said no one was killed or
injured in the confrontation.

Some 300 illegal immigrants were arrested in a similar operation on
June 29. Al-Mulaihem said his officers would comb various Makkah districts
to wipe out crime in the city. He urged Saudis and expatriates to
cooperate with security officers by informing them about suspected criminal

There are several dilapidated buildings in the Mansoura district
providing a safe haven for the criminals. Most street lamps in the area are
damaged allowing free movement to the gangsters during night.

A telephone cabin operator in the area said the gangsters use various
ploys to avoid payment of bills. "They come after Maghreb prayers and
continue their calls until midnight. They escape unnoticed without
putting the handset back in its place, so that the operator will think they
are carrying on with their telephone conversation," he said.

According to Saudi Telecom Company there are 50,000 telephone lines and
2,700 wireless phones in Mansoura. Telephone bills of some of the
clients go up as high as SR50,000, the company said.

About 29,000 families live in Mansoura. A number of Saudi residents
have called on authorities to reorganize the district. One of the oldest
residential areas in Makkah, the district is poorly maintained and
cleanliness is virtually non-existent, they claimed and urged the
municipality banish street vendors who sell unhygienic food.

Maqbul Al-Osaimy, the district chief, said one of the major problems of
his district was the presence of a large number of unemployed
expatriates who roam about the area. He charged that some citizens protected
them. (Arab News - 12 July 2001)

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