The Office of Combating Street Begging in Riyadh has arrested more than 5,000 beggars of different nationalities over the last six months in Riyadh, reported Al Arabiya news. There has been an increase in the number of beggars reported in the capital city. The eastern city of Dammam has also seen a rise in the number of beggars.
According to reports by the Ministry of Social Affairs, a majority of the beggars are foreigners, with Saudis taking up only a small percentage. It was observed that the activity increased during Ramadan and pilgrimage seasons.
The head of the Security Committee, which is responsible for combating beggary in Riyadh, Colonel Badr Al-Shabaneh, said that begging in the kingdom is considered a punishable crime. He also added that there were gangs managing some of the beggars, of which some employed children and women in their activities. Few beggars also come in disguise using women’s Abayas, while others pretend to have physical disabilities to seek attention and compassion of the people. He added that there were also genuine cases where beggars are honest and are in real need of money.