DFA reminds Filipinos of public decency offenses, penalties in Saudi Arabia
By Neil Arwin Mercado
October 9, 2019 at 4:56 pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Wednesday reminded Filipinos traveling to Saudi Arabia of the new public decency rules observed in the Middle Eastern country.

The DFA said the Saudi Arabian government had identified 19 offenses concerning public decency that are punishable by fines.

“The new regulation helps ensure that travellers to Saudi Arabia are reminded of laws that concern public behavior, including rules on immodest clothing, public display of affection, taking photos or videos of people without permission, playing music at prayer times, among others,” the foreign affairs department said in an advisory.

Public decency offenses and penalties in Saudi Arabia as per the DFA are as follows:

  • Indecent behavior that includes any act of sexual nature
  • Playing music in high volume inside a residential area without obtaining a prior approval, and a complaint is made by one or more residents
  • Playing music during prayer times
  • Non-removal of pet excrement by owner
  • Littering in non-designated areas and spitting
  • Occupying the seats and facilities designated for the elderly and the disabled
  • Bypassing barriers to access public places
  • Wearing improper clothing in public places. Dress code for visitors to Saudi Arabia shall be in accordance with the standards set for such purpose
  • Dressed only in underwear of sleepwear
  • Wearing in public places clothing that bears profane language or obscene images or symbols
  • Wearing in public places clothing that bears language, images or symbols that encourage discrimination or racism, or promote porn or drug use
  • Writing or drawing, or any other similar act, without authorisation on public transportation vehicles and on public walls
  • Placing slogans or images on public transportation vehicles that encourage racism, promote porn or advocate drug use
  • Placing commercial labels and distributing flyers in public places without permission
  • Igniting fires in non-designated areas in parks and public places
  • Any act, whether physical or verbal, that may harm, frighten or endanger any individual in a public place
  • Skipping waiting lines in public places, unless permitted
  • Exposing people in public places to harmful lighting, such as laser beams, that may harm, frighten or endanger such people
  • Taking pictures or videos of people, traffic accidents, crimes or other incidents without permission. The images taken shall be deleted

Fines for first-time and repeated violations can be seen below.

The DFA said Saudi Police will be monitoring the regulation and will be the authority imposing fines.

“Offenders have the right to submit a grievance claim before the Common Courtesy Department and to appeal any penalties. Any person harmed by offenders shall have the right to file a lawsuit,” the DFA said. /je

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