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Beggars will be deported - Phenomenon rampant in Ramadan

The Holy month of Ramadan is soon approaching, and as many tricksters seek to exploit the religious temperament of the people, Kuwait’s Interior Ministry has said that it would apprehend and deport any person found begging in public.

In this week’s Arab Times online poll, readers voted for the most rampant ways of begging and aggressive panhandling, prevalent in Kuwait.

A majority of the respondents, 37%, have experienced beggars circling mosques, malls, cooperatives, ATM machines and hospitals. “Every time I go to the ATM by the cooperative in my area, I have to look out for the neighbourhood beggar, who followed me back to my car once”, a voter stated.

It is not uncommon to find local news stories of fraud. In the past, policemen apprehended a suspect, disguised as a woman, begging for alms in front of a mosque in Saad Al-Abdullah City, who was earning himself a fat KD 1,000 a month by such dishonest means. 25% of respondents shared that veiled women cloaked in abayas, making the rounds of residential areas were the most common. “My children usually play in the passage outside the flats so it is very unnerving when beggars invade your space this way. It is not safe at all. Thankfully, our building haris has been very vigilant and has stopped people from doing this”, a reader shared.

Cleaning company workers at traffic lights were voted for by 24% of respondents. “I see the same workers at a particular traffic light in Qurain, they weave between cars and some even knock on the windows to ask for money.

These workers could be run over or cause accidents, motorists should not encourage this practice”, a concerned voter remarked. Close to 200 men and women from various parts of the country were apprehended during an inspection campaign last Ramadan. While the bulk of transgressors are often domestic and marginal workers, those who come to the country on visit visas and violators of residency laws, there are instances where nationals too have been found guilty.

A 39-year-old Kuwaiti was caught in downtown Kuwait City for begging for alms with documents detailing his disease and pitiful financial condition.

12% of the votes were cast for beggars who told sad medical stories and a slim 2% of the voters had been subjected to invoking sentiments of charity to solicit funds. Not even the higher echelons of society are exempt from exploitation.

In one instance, a British woman of Iranian origin was caught begging for alms after she approached a Sheikha at the Mubarakiya Market Festival, with documents indicating that her three children were suffering from cancer, she was found with a sum of KD 1000 solicited in such a manner.

It doesn’t take long for a successful con to become an organized endeavor. Previously, 23 companies, believed to be part of a network involved in collecting money through begging, were shut down by the Charity Organizations Department at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor.

In another case, two prominent personalities were revealed to have brought in 300 Yemenis on visit visa in the month of Ramadan for the sole purpose of begging, But the practice can often take a darker turn when the young are forced into begging as in the case of a 16 year old girl who was tortured by her aunt and forced to beg in Kuwait. Hopefully the fear of arrest and deportation will deter fraudulent behaviour this year.

By: Cinatra Fernandes Arab Times Staff

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