Cairo: Saudi authorities have launched a crackdown on beggars who take advantage of the Muslim holy month and characteristic benevolence for the illegal practice.
The kingdom’s General Directorate of Public Security has said police have started arresting beggars and referring them to competent agencies for violating the country’s system.
Authorities have urged citizens and expatriates to use legal channels to ensure delivery of their donations to the needy.
Last year, Saudi Arabia launched the state-sponsored platform Ihsan (Charity) allowing would-be benefactors to make donations via smartphone apps and choose preferred categories of assistance.
"Designated penalties will be applied to anyone arrested while practising begging, inciting, collaborating with or assisting the offender or handling this in any form," the directorate's spokesman Brig. Sami Al Shwairek said.
Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia started enforcing a law making begging punishable by a maximum of one year in prison or fines of up to SR100,000 or both penalties. Foreign offenders face deportation after serving the term in Saudi Arabia and are barred from re-entry.