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Cairo: Saudi Arabia’s security authorities have said they arrested a total of 16,196 illegal expatriates nationwide in one week as part of a relentless crackdown on foreign violators of the kingdom’s residency, labour and border security laws.

The Interior Ministry said the arrests, made over the period of January 12-18, included 9,343 violators of the kingdom’s residency system, 4,037 violators of the border security rules and 2,816 others who breached the labour regulations.

Authorities also arrested during the same period 12 people involved in transporting, sheltering and employing violators of residency, border and work regulations, it said.

A total of 28,773 illegals, including 1,873 women, are currently being subjected to deportation measures.

Last week, Saudi Arabia said it had arrested 15,743 illegals in the clampdown.

In recent months, Saudi police announced arresting several people suspected of involvement in offering aid to border infiltrators and violators of the kingdom’s rules.

Last week, Okaz newspaper reported that police in the coastal city of Al Qunfudah had arrested a Saudi man for transporting in his vehicle 10 violators of the border security law. They were four Ethiopians, four Somalis and two Yemenis.

The Saudi Interior Ministry has repeatedly warned that those who facilitate the entry of infiltrators into the kingdom or provide them with transportation, shelter or any sort of assistance face penalties of a maximum of 15 years in prison, and a fine of up to SR1 million, as well as confiscation of the transport and the accommodation means, in addition to naming to shame them.

Saudi Arabia, a country of around 34.8 million people, hosts a large community of migrant workers.