Muscat: Oman police have busted a gambling as well as prostitution den being run in the upmarket Qurum area of Muscat and arrested 17 expatriates from a flat during the raid.

Fifteen out of 17 arrested were women and police have charged all 17 for gambling as well as indulging in prostitution.

“Working on a tip off by a citizen we raided the flat and found people engaged in gambling on six tables,” a spokesman for the Royal Oman Police (ROP) said, adding that the police also seized all the gambling paraphernalia that included tables, coins as well as cash used for the illegal act.

He added that a citizen had complained to the ROP that some women from a Far Eastern Asian country were allegedly engaged in suspicious activities at a particular flat. “We swung into action and raided the place,” he said.

The police also found a large amount of alcoholic beverages in the flat. “The residents of the area heaved a sigh of relief after the raid and the subsequent arrests,” the ROP spokesman claimed. He said that the residents alleged that the flat was used for illegal activities.

The ROP spokesman urged real estate owners to take care before letting their premises on rent. “They must ensure that the premises are not used for any illegal activities,” he stressed.

All the 17 accused were referred to the Public Prosecution for further action.

In another gambling case, ROP arrested three Asians from Mudhaibi town, about 160km east of Muscat. During the raid the police also arrested ten others for violating the labour laws and two others for entering the country illegally.

The Mudhaibi police also arrested a ‘jewel thief’. “The accused is suspected to be involved in a series of jewellery theft from Sinaw [about 200km east of Muscat],” he pointed out. The police recovered jewellery worth 5,000 riyals (Dh47,549)from the suspect’s house.

In the northern region of the country, the ROP arrested two Asian expatriates on charges of smuggling and possessing narcotic substances. “The suspects were arrested from Birka, about 100km north of Muscat, with 44 capsules of heroin,” he said.

The ROP officers in the central region foiled an attempt to smuggle a stolen vehicle out of the country when they arrested a driver in Haima, about 590km south of Muscat. “The suspect confessed that he was taking the vehicle stolen from Khaboura [about 190km north of Muscat] and was taking it to Dhofar from where it was to be smuggled out,” the ROP spokesman said.

In the past also the police in Oman busted smuggling of stolen vehicles to neighbouring Yemen via the Dhofar region in the south.

The police have advised residents not to be careless and not to leave engines running while leaving the vehicle even to run small errands.