Saudi Crime Week for 1 June 2006 (4 Jumada al-Awwal 1427)

I apologize for having missed the last several Saudi crime weeks, and for not being able to make this the regular feature I would like to (and hope I can).

It was another week of murder, rape and mayhem in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. But, it was mind-numbingly ordinary murder, rape and mayhem, the usual family disputes and illicit substance deals of past weeks. Well, there were a couple of gang fights — fisticuffs and knives, bats and crowbars! Dead and injured and scattered vegetables! And a garbage fire (ick!).

However, there was no hot Church Police action this week. Darn.

1) A male Indian expatriate, Anees Al-Rahman, ended a dispute between his wife and his brother’s wife, 25-year-old Bibi Zahrah Abdul Qader, when he stabbed Abdul Qader in the chest and abdomen, killing her, according to the Arabic-language daily Okaz.

The suspect fled the scene but was arrested two hours later, the report said, after fleeing to the Al-Bukhariah and Al-Karantina Districts where he was arrested. Okaz reported Al-Rahman admitted to killing his brother’s wife and said he did not regret it.

Al-Rahman’s 11-year old son, Hayat, apparently witnessed the crime, according to the report. The two families were sharing a residence at the time of the murder.

Police rushed to the scene after receiving a report from Abdul Qader’s husband that his wife was bleeding after being stabbed and that the suspect’s wife had disappeared and her room was locked. Officials also dispatched specialist teams from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), Forensic Evidences Section and Al-Jamea Police Station.

According to Okaz, police found a “horrific crime scene”: a blood-stained knife lying next to a dead woman on a kitchen floor covered in blood. There was a chicken in the sink, indicating the dead woman had been preparing lunch when she was attacked.

Police cordoned off the crime scene and began their work. Investigators said the lifted fingerprints from the knife. Surprised police also found the door to the Al-Rahman family’s room was locked. After managing to open the door, police discovered the sobbing family members.

When asked why the door of their room was locked, Al-Rahman’s wife said her husband had locked it. Meanwhile, the son described the attack to police, noting that when he asked his father why he had killed his aunt, Al-Rahman locked them inside their room.

Police also took the dead woman’s husband into custody in order to prevent a revenge attack. Okaz said the husband of the murdered woman was more shocked than angry over the attack.

2) The Directorate of Heath Affairs in the Eastern Province discovered violations by a number of pharmacies and imposed fines of nearly SR562,000 (US$150,000) during the past four months, according to Aqeel Al-Ghamdi, Director General of Health Affairs in the Eastern Province.

The nature of the violations was not reported. If I have to guess, the pharmacies probably charged more for the medicines than the Helath Ministry allowed.

3) Security patrols arrested two youths who tried to sexually assault a third youth, the Arabic daily Okaz reported. The third youth was in a car with the two assailants as they were all traveling on Umluj Road, north of Yanbu Al-Bahr, around dawn on Wednesday, Okaz said.

After the victim put up stiff resistance, the two assailants gave up their rape attempt and left the victim near a petrol station. The victim reported the attack to a security patrol, giving police a the names of the assailants as well as a description of their car.

Police told Okaz the attack is still being investigated. (The original translated article I received used the word “harass” rather than “assault.”)

4) Hafr Al-Batin Municipality’s Environmental Health Administration caught an expatriate worker forging the production and expiry dates on food packages in the shop he worked at, Okaz reported.

An official source with the Environmental Health Administration told the Arabic daily that the worker, whose name and nationality were not revealed, was caught putting older imported foods from Syria — olives, olive oil, vine leaves, and stuffed eggplant – in new packaged bearing bogus production and expiry dates.

5) Security patrols arrested two men who were apparently ready to buy and sell drugs and liquor on Dhiba Street in Khobar on Tuesday, Okaz reported.

A security patrol suspected the men, one inside a car and the other standing next to the car, after noticing they were behaving suspiciously. When the security patrol neared, the two men fled. However, police caught the men after a short chase.

Upon inspecting the car, police found 360 illegal narcotic pills and two containers of liquor.

6) This is the most exciting item of the day — GANG FIGHTS! One youth was killed and four others were injured in a fight between knife-wielding gang members in Al-Kharj’s Al-Dulam Governorate, according to an Okaz report.

According to the report, a dispute among the participants speedily developed to first a fist fight and then a knife fight. Security patrols intervened to break up the melee and the injured were rushed to the hospital. Police are investigating the fight.

In another case, a violent fight broke out among unidentified illegal residents at the vegetable market in the Souq Al-Tibbiyah in Dhamad. Those involved in the grabbed wooden planks and iron rods to use in the fight, causing severe injuries to other fighter as well as to bystanders. Many of those involved in the fight bled heavily, staining furnishings and scattering vegetables.

An eyewitness said the fight was sparked by a dispute over vegetable prices, and attempts to mediate the dispute were rejected. Police investigators said most of those involved in the fight were residing illegally in the Kingdom and fled the scene.

7) Sixteen people, including Makkah Civil Defense [fire brigades] Director Brig. Gen. Jameel Arba’een and several rescue men, were injured in a huge fire that gutted two residential buildings Wednesday afternoon, the Arabic daily Okaz reported.

The fire broke out in Makkah’s Al-Hijra District in an unfinished residential building. Six firefighters and four rescue and snorkel teams under Arba’een’s command rushed to the scene of the fire and initially had the blaze under control. However, strong winds quickly revived the fire and spread it to two nearby residential buildings. However, Civil Defense crews were able to evacuate all the residents of the two buildings before they were destroyed by the fire.

Ten Red Crescent teams and two teams from the Health Affairs Department were ready at the scene of the inferno to treat the injured. The injured Civil Defense men were treated at the scene while an ambulance carried a severely burned resident to Al-Noor Hospital.

Injured in the blaze were Bakr Mohammed Othman, Abdullah Al-Thubaiti, Abdullah Musa’ed, Farhan Al-Thubaiti, Saud Al-Subhi, and Mohammed Ibrahim. Nine other people with minor injuries – including Arba’een – were treated at the scene.

Arba’een told Okaz that a team of specialists will begin investigating the fire to determine the cause. He pointed put that investigators would be able to tell if the cause was accidental, arson or tampering by children.

A number of residents of nearby buildings were evacuated, and police towed a number of vehicles from the location to prevent them from being damaged by the blaze.

8) And this is the most disgusting item of the day, because it appears that the park was being used as a dump by compound residents, and it was the garbage that caught fire.

The speedy intervention of Civil Defense teams to extinguish a fire in a bachelor housing complex in Jubail Al-Balad on Wednesday morning prevented a major catastrophe, Okaz reported.

Civil Defense official 1st Lt. Adel Al-Sarhan told Okaz that when the Civil Defense received a report of an early-morning fire in a small park in the middle of the housing compound, two team and firefighters and one team of rescuers rushed to the compound, evacuated all the residents, and cut the electricity.

Al-Sarhan said the first was quickly contained, prevented its spread to nearby apartments housing up to 200 Saudi and foreign workers.

“Thankfully, no one was injured,” he said.

Al-Sarhan said fire crews are investigating the cause of the blaze, which appeared to have been sparked off when a compound resident threw a cigarette butt in the park.

Col. Sa’eed Al-Malihi, Director of Civil Defense in Jubail Governate, said the housing compound will remain closed until safety rules are complied with. For safety’s sake, Al-Mahili called upon residents not to dispose of their garbage in the park.