Security authorities in Saudi Arabia have arrested over 17,000 people up until Friday for attempting to perform the annual Hajj pilgrimage without a permit, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday.
The Director of Public Security and Head of the Hajj Security Committee, Lt. Gen. Mohammed Al-Bassami, said a total of 17,615 people were arrested, including 9,509 violators of residency, work and border security regulations, and organizers of 105 fake Hajj campaigns in various regions of the Kingdom. They have all been referred to the Public Prosecution.
He added 202,695 people who did not have a Hajj permit were sent back from the Makkah entry points and 128,999 vehicles that are not licensed to enter Makkah and the holy sites were also returned.
Al-Bassami said 33 people who transported pilgrims who did not hold Hajj permits were arrested and referred to the seasonal administrative committees under the General Directorate of Passports at the entrances to Makkah to implement the regulations against them. He also said that the Hajj security forces implemented the security and organizational plans with high efficiency and professionalism.