70,000 turned back from Makkah
Statistics revealed that more than 28,000 vehicles that violated conditions to transport Haj pilgrims and whose load was fewer than 25 passengers have been turned back. Vehicles whose loading capacity conformed to the conditions but didn't have transport permits as stipulated in the system were also turned back.
The figures were released by the Haj security command.
The law will be applied against violating vehicles and their drivers, the command said, and stressed that all those coming to perform Haj should possess the necessary permits.
It also stressed the importance of abiding by the instructions related to transporting Haj pilgrims by obtaining the necessary permits and cooperating with security forces to help them carry out their duties as stipulated by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman. Those who violate the instructions will be punished, it said.
In related news, authorities in the Philippines detained 177 Indonesian pilgrims in Manila on Saturday after they tried to board a plane heading for Saudi Arabia to perform Haj by using forged passports.
An official in the immigration department in the Philippines said investigations are underway to define the identity of the Indonesians and where they obtained their forged passports.
The official added that the detainees are expected to be deported in the next few days. Five Filipino nationals, who were supposed to accompany the group on the trip, were also arrested, Al-Watan newspaper reported.