Speaking to Muscat Daily
, Hamood Mohammed Nasser al Mandhari, Director of Social Development in MoSD, stated, “Last year, the maximum number of beggars were caught from Muscat governorate (930), followed by Dhofar (349), North and South Batinah (266), Buraimi (80) and Dhahirah (53).”
Of the arrested 1,678 beggars, 170 have been Omanis (127 males, 43 females) and 1,508 expatriates (964 males, 544 females).
“Our teams conducted 2,911 inspections in different parts of Oman. Cases of begging increased last Ramadan. We plan to increase the number of members in inspection teams this Ramadan to crack down on the menace. Last year in Ramadan, we conducted 174 inspections only in Muscat. We held 123 beggars, six Omanis and 117 expatriates including 11 children under 12 years.”
Mandhari stated that anti-begging teams have their personal set of challenges in the course of the inspection campaigns.
“Some folks attempt to assist beggars when our teams catch them in markets, mosques and public areas. There is also lack of awareness of the seriousness of the problem amongst folks.
“We are attempting to overcome this by spreading awareness via social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook. We hold awareness lectures and distribute brochures to address the seriousness of this matter.
“We cooperate with many authorities to curb begging such as the ROP, the Public Prosecution, the Public Authority for Radio and Television, the Ministry of Manpower and the Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs. We also help Omanis find jobs so that they stay away from begging.”
Talking about the punishment, he stated, “Arrested beggars are referred to the concerned authorities for legal action. Article 297 of the Omani Penal Code imposes a prison term of not less than a month, not exceeding a year, and a fine of not less than RO50 and not more than RO100.”
Mandhari stated that begging leads to the creation of a class of folks who are a burden on society as they are on the lookout for simple funds.
“So I urge everyone not to give any money to a beggar. Any such activity can be reported on 1100.”
Information Source: Muscat Daily