Tragic carpet ride! Woman's smuggling attempt foiled by KSA customs
An attempt to smuggle a European woman into Saudi Arabia has been foiled by local customs officers.
The woman whose nationality was not revealed did not have a passport and was hiding under a large carpet and a small wooden table on the Pajero floor mats, Dhaifallah Bin Bader Al Otaibi, the acting head of Saudi customs, said, local media reported.
The woman was discovered as the customs inspected the car driven from Bahrain by a British national.
Bahrain and Saudi Arabia are linked via the 25-kilometre-long King Fahd Causeway. Thousands of vehicles and passengers, mainly Saudis, regularly use the terrestrial link, particularly over the weekend.
Saudi security authorities have been engaged in a relentless battle against the smuggling of foreigners across its borders, particularly from the south with thousands of Yemenis and Ethiopians attempting to enter the country lured by lucrative possibilities.
Visitors overstaying their visit or work visas are also a major issue in the country where nine of its 27 million people are expatriates, mainly unskilled labourers and domestic helpers from Asian and African countries.
Riyadh also complains about pilgrimage overstayers who refuse to go home at the end of the Haj (pilgrimage) season and opt to wander in Saudi Arabia looking for better living conditions and more employment opportunities than in their home countries.
Fugitive foreign women are another serious issue in a country where runaways take advantage of the tradition of wearing a veil that covers the face to hide.
By Habib Toumi