Saudi Arabia to set up database of beggars

October 18, 2021

Okaz/Saudi Gazette report

RIYADH – Saudi Arabia plans to set up a database of beggars who will be arrested with the implementation of the new Anti-Begging Law, which will come into force after 88 days.

The Ministry of Interior announced that the new law prohibits begging in all its forms and manifestations. A maximum jail term of one year and a fine of SR100,000 will be slapped on anyone found practicing beggary, according to the new Anti-Begging Law approved by the Council of Ministers recently.

There is a provision in the law to set up a database of beggars so as to identify them easily. The registration of every case of beggary will also be made while a special fund to combat begging will be created. This will be in partnership between the Ministry of Interior and other concerned agencies.

According to the law, those who are caught begging for the first time will be made to sign a pledge never to beg again and then released. However, a beggar will be punished if he is arrested for engaging in beggary again.

The law says the Ministry of Interior is the designated authority to arrest beggars.

The fifth article of the law stipulates penalties for those who engage in begging.

It says those who involve in begging as part of an organized gang of beggars, manage beggars or encourage and help an organized group of beggars will be sentenced to a maximum jail term of one year or a maximum fine of SR100,000 or both.

Those who are found begging on his or her own or encouraging and helping anyone who is engaged in begging will be sentenced to a maximum jail term of six months ora fine of not more than SR50,000, or both.

There is a provision in the law to deport non-Saudi beggars after they serve the jail term and pay the fine. They will not be allowed to return to the Kingdom for work.

There will be an exemption from deportation for non-Saudi beggars who are married to Saudi women or are their children.

Under the law, anyone who asks for money directly or indirectly, sells trivial goods, feigns injuries or permanent disability or uses children to influence others into giving him/her money will be considered a beggar.

The law says any Saudi or non-Saudi man or woman who is found to be asking for money in public areas, mosques, gas stations, public transport facilities or shops will be considered a beggar and will be dealt with accordingly even if he or she is crippled and is unable to do any kind of physical work.

Article four of the law states that the Ministry of Interior, in coordination with the concerned agencies, shall carry out studies about the social, health, psychological and economic condition of the Saudi beggars and extend them support to address these issues on a case-by-case basis, in addition to offering the necessary support by government, private and charitable agencies to them.

There is also a provision in the law to double the penalty in the event of repetition of the crime with a condition not to exceed two times of the maximum limit of penalties prescribed in the law.

The wealth in cash and kind accumulated by beggars will be confiscated as per court rulings. In the event of any difficulties in confiscating the assets, the competent court can decide on a fine equivalent to their value

October 18, 2021
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