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Sun 8 Jun 2014 11:34 AM

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Con men stealing Bahrain expats' identities to run up debts

Pakistan Embassy official said it has received more than 100 cases in the past four months

Con men stealing Bahrain expats' identities to run up debts
(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

Con men in Bahrain are stealing the identities of low-income expat workers and using them to run up debts, according to a foreign diplomat, Gulf Daily News reported.

Pakistan Embassy community welfare attaché Maqsood Shah said it had received more than 100 cases in the past four months, most involving poor and illiterate expats who were exploited by people claiming to help them.

He said the unsuspecting victims only found out when they were prevented from leaving the country because of money owed in their names.

“The cases that we receive are more or less similar in nature - the men are poor, needy and illiterate,” he was quoted as saying.

“They are lured by the promise of better jobs in return for their CPR [Central Population Registry] cards, but these CPRs are then used to purchase high-end phones and make long-term business deals with telecom companies.”

Shah said the CPR cards were returned to their owners with the promise of a new job, but it is not until months or years later when the men reached the airport to go for a holiday that they realised they were trapped.

"One man who approached us just days ago is a labourer, who earns a meagre BD30 per month, but the case against him is that he owes money for a gadget worth BD120,” he told the newspaper.

Shah said the embassy had written to Bahrain’s Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowment Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa calling for the travel ban policy to be overhauled.

The Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society in February estimated that more than 3,000 expats were unable to leave the country due to travel bans, which are mainly imposed on those who owe money.

Many of those affected are unable to get work since their residency permits are not renewed, compounding the situation.

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Matt Williams 6 years ago

30bhd a month which equates to $80 give or take a few cents. No doubt this gentleman works 6 day weeks 12 hour days, so that's what about $3 a day? When you really look at it, it's pretty disgusting isn't it and the poor guy has been conned so now he can't leave. I hope he and the rest manage to leave

Muhammad Yousuf 6 years ago

i think 30 bhd per month is not his salary, it means 300 dhms per month whereas the average wages in middle east is not less than 600-700 dhms per month. How come if he earns 30 bhd per month and he can take care of his daily food, telephone, cigarate and tea for the whole month, no matter he has accommodation free.

Ali. T 6 years ago

It is true that many workers are being oppressed on day-to-day basis, and they get paid very low comparing to Bahrainis. I don't think 30BD is the salary of each worker, because every contractor pays not less than 60BD a month, which is the lowest. Even for house keepers which has an accommodation and food, they get paid minimum of 45BD monthly. The free-visa (also known as the expired visa) workers are everywhere in Bahrain, it's inhumane to pay them very low for any service they do, but mostly the workers themselves chose to not work for a company, instead you'll find them everywhere working in anything possible, like selling fish, or washing cars, or painting houses...etc. Most of them made a wrong decision to stay in Bahrain and work for no guaranteed income, and the government know about it, but they don't want to punish them as the Saudi government did few months ago when they deported the Somalis and Ethiopians.