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Arab News
JEDDAH, Nov 2: The Riyadh Passport Department is to randomly fingerprint people living in the Kingdom in a trial system that is to begin on Saturday. The new steps come following various studies conducted by the National Information Center and after the completion of technical aspects of the system by engineers working at the center. This new system aims to detect passport violators.

More than six million foreigners are working in the Kingdom. In addition, the Kingdom welcomes more than five million pilgrims for Haj and Umrah throughout the year.

This results in many people remaining in the Kingdom illegally once their visa expires. Many of these overstayers are involved in committing crimes and are known to leave the Kingdom by getting themselves deported after destroying the passports they have used to enter Saudi Arabia.

Gen. Salem Al-Bulaiheed, director general of the Passport Department told Arab News that the fingerprinting system would benefit the Kingdom. “It would help solve many crimes and discover those involved in them. There have been a number of criminal cases that were discovered early by implementing the system including the Asian gang that was arrested in relation to a major robbery. The gang claimed that they had come to the Kingdom legally for Umrah and wanted to get deported. The authorities then discovered the crime they had committed,” he said.

He said, “If this is a successful experiment and we are sure that the system is complete and there are no other technical changes to be made then the system will be implemented on all foreigners arriving in the Kingdom whether for Umrah or for Haj.” Al-Bulaiheed said that the new system is an advanced one that is used to identify individuals through computers showing the information of the fingerprint holder and his country of origin.


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