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Thu 27 Aug 2015 02:08 PM

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25 arrested for illegal Haj operations in Saudi Arabia

Authorities shut down 30 Haj and Umrah offices operating with false or expired licences

25 arrested for illegal Haj operations in Saudi Arabia
Grand Mosque, Makkah, Saudi Arabia

Saudi authorities have shut down 30 Haj and Umrah offices operating illegally, Saudi Gazette reported.

Twenty-five expatriates were arrested during an inspection campaign in the capital Riyadh.

They had been operating on false or expired licences, sources told the daily.

The Islamic Haj and Umrah pilgrimages are a significant portion of the kingdom’s tourism industry, earning billions of dollars each year. However, the lucrative industry also has attracted some unscrupulous dealers attempting to illegally make money from foreign pilgrims.

The kingdom also announced this week it had stepped up security at the Grand Mosque to detect pilgrims entering with false Haj visas.