JEDDAH, Jan 8: Police arrested a 29-year-old Saudi man on charges of impersonating a police officer to extort money from an Indian national.
Police here said yesterday that the man was carrying a wireless phone receiver as if it were a walkie-talkie and behaved as if he were an undercover cop. Then he allegedly confiscated an Indian national’s residence permit and mobile phone and demanded the Indian come up with money as a bribe for the return of the items.
According to the police report, the suspect arranged a meeting place for the return of the items.
Col. Misfir Al-Juaid of the police department said that the Indian worker reported the crime and police set up a sting. The arrest was made when the suspect and his victim met.
An illegal resident in Jeddah’s Al-Ruwais district was also arrested for impersonating a police officer, a common ruse employed by local crooks that exploit immigrants’ fears and cultural disorientation to rob them.
Police repeated the mantra: If somebody claiming to be an officer stops you, you have the right to demand sufficient proof of identity before submitting to their demands. Legitimate Saudi law enforcement officials will have identification proving their authority.
Expatriates are also warned of fake IDs that a crook may quickly show in hopes of exploiting the language barrier to fool victims into thinking the ID is legitimate.