Cairo: Saudi police in the capital Riyadh had arrested eight illegal expatriates for touting unlawful campaigns targeting Muslims seeking to perform Umrah or minor pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca, a Saudi newspaper has reported.
The suspects are Indian violators of the Saudi residency and labour laws, Okaz added.
They used four printing offices to promote fake Umrah campaigns with the intention of swindle and fraud, it added.
After arrest, they were referred to public prosecution, the report added without giving further details.
Umrah usually peaks during the Islamic sacred month of Ramadan.
Saudi Arabia has recently tightened security at Mecca entrances to check official permits allowing holders to perform Umrah at the Grand Mosque, Islam’s holiest site, during the current month of Ramadan.
The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah had earlier said that Umrah permits are available via the Nusuk app.
The ministry added that only one Umrah is permitted during Ramadan to allow the largest numbers of Muslims to undertake the rites.
The nusuk.sa platform enables Muslims wishing to undertake Umrah or visit the holy sites to obtain the necessary visas and permits as well as to book related packages electronically.
Saudi Arabia, which has recently introduced a set of facilities for overseas Muslim pilgrims, expects the number of Umrah pilgrims will reach 9 million by the end of this Ramadan.
Overseas applicants for the Umrah permits in Ramadan must have valid visas at the time of registration.