Muscat: Police have arrested 107 beggars following raids in the busiest public areas, such as mosques and shopping malls, during the Holy Month of Ramadan.
The beggars, of different nationalities, included 43 women, mostly from Arab countries, who have been fined OMR100 each and released with a warning that they would be deported if they are again caught begging.
The 38 Omani beggars were placed on the offenders' list, with a warning of receiving stiffer fines if caught again.
"We have plain clothes policemen and women mingling with worshippers and shoppers to check the situation, but some of the arrests were made following tips from citizens who called to alert us," a police spokesman told Times of Oman.
He added that out of 107 arrests, 68 beggars were arrested in Muscat, and the remainder in Sohar, Salalah and Buraimi. The police, working together with the Ministry of Social Development, has established a team to stop begging in Oman.
The two organisations urge citizens and residents to call 24704886, 24794949 and 24707405 if they see a beggar in their areas.
Once arrested, police hand over the names and addresses of Omani beggars to the Ministry of Social Development to find them jobs for those able to work, and social grants for those who are not fit for employment.
Additionally, beggars under 18-year-old are given vocational training or sent to become apprentices in various government institutions.
The Ministry of Social Development has set up a link on its website for citizens to send information about anyone who needs help.
500 people registered
So far, about 500 needy people registered on the website, and the ministry have contacted more than half of them during the Holy Month of Ramadan, a Ministry of Social Development spokesman said. "We investigate who is in real need and who is not. Of course, not everyone on this list is genuine. We investigate thoroughly before we make a decision," the spokesman told Times of Oman.
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