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Cairo: Some 14,740 illegal expatriates have been arrested in nationwide campaigns in Saudi Arabia 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 has said.

The arrests, made from December 29 to January 4, includes 8,058 violators of the kingdom’s residency system, 4,283 violators of the border security rules and 2,399 others who breached the labour regulations, the ministry added.

Authorities also arrested during the same period 15 people involved in transporting, sheltering and employing violators of residency, border and work regulations, it said.

A total of 34,103 illegals, including 1,635 women, are currently being subjected to deportation measures.

Last week, Saudi Arabia reported arresting over 15,000 illegals in the clampdown.

Police in Riyadh said this week they had arrested an expatriate for illegally employing and accommodating 17 female expatriates, reported to have absented themselves from their official workplaces.

Last week, Saudi authorities arrested two citizens for transporting and sheltering illegal expatriates in the south-western region of Asir.

A spokesman for Asir police said transportation and accommodation of violators of the border security rules is a major, dishonouring crime punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a hefty fine.

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 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.