RIYADH: Saudi authorities arrested 17,260 people in one week for breaching residency, work and border security regulations, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday.

According to an official report, a total of 10,819 people were arrested for violations of residency laws, while 4,090 were held over illegal border crossing attempts and a further 2,351 for labor-related issues.

The report showed that among the 703 people arrested for trying to enter the Kingdom illegally, 62 percent were Ethiopian, 37 percent Yemeni, and 1 percent were of other nationalities.

A further 23 people were caught trying to cross into neighboring countries, and 24 were held for involvement in transporting and harboring violators.

So far, the authorities transferred 42,495 offenders to their respective diplomatic missions to obtain travel documents, while 2,199 were transferred to complete their travel reservations and 9,239 were deported.

The Saudi Ministry of Interior said that anyone found to be facilitating illegal entry to the Kingdom, including providing transportation and shelter, could face imprisonment for a maximum of 15 years, a fine of up to SR1 million ($260,000), or confiscation of vehicles and property.

Suspected violations can be reported on the toll-free number 911 in the Makkah and Riyadh regions, and 999 or 996 in other regions of the Kingdom.


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