Saudi Arabia’s feared religious police smashed a vice ring described by newspapers as the largest to be busted in the Gulf Kingdom’s second largest city, with the arrest of several Moroccan women and its fugitive Palestinian leader.
After watching the ring for several months, members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice raided suspected houses and seized the ring leader, who escaped arrest during a raid on his prostitution den in 2011.
His Moroccan wife and her brother were arrested during the 2011 raid but her husband escaped and went into hiding after changing his name, features and his nationality to Lebanese. He then joined hands with a Lebanese company manager in rebuilding the vice network to become even bigger than before, using more Moroccan women and several luxury cars and houses in the Western Red Sea port of Jeddah. Newspapers said this week’s raid resulted in the seizure of drugs and more than 500 imported liquor bottles in various apartments and villas.
“Commission sources said the Palestinian ring leader, who escaped during the 2011 raid, was captured this time although he was disguised and has changed his name, nationality and address,” Sabq newspaper said. It said Commission members seized more than 200 liquor boxes worth over SR1.2 million (Dh1.15 million) as well as a large quantity of gold and money drafts worth nearly SRnine million (Dh8.8 million) when they stormed suspected houses in 2011.