Saudi Arabia closes down 181 ‘fake’ Haj offices

By Eudore R. Chand

Haj digital experience includes 5G service

MAKKAH 7 August 2019: More than 329,000 people, who did not hold Haj permits, have been denied entry to the sacred places, according to Prince Khalid Al Faisal, Advisor to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and Governor of Makkah Region, who is also Chairman of Hajj Central Committee.

The authorities blocked more than 144,000 vehicles for not holding permits, arrested 15 people for different reasons and closed 181 fake Haj offices, he said.

More than 1.77+ million pilgrims have arrived in the Kingdom, said the Saudi Press Agency.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has launched a series of advanced smart applications to serve pilgrims, as part of its efforts to provide them with best services and facilitate their travel during the Haj season, said Wam.

Last year, the country launched the ‘Smart Haj Initiative’, which was designed by the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology to serve pilgrims and help them perform the Haj. This year, it launched a 5G service in Makkah as part of the initiative to enhance pilgrims’ digital experience during the Haj season.

In light of the success of the initiative, which benefitted 250,000 pilgrims last year, the second phase of the smart Haj plan kicked off last month with a voluntary training platform to train individuals working to assist pilgrims during the Haj season, as well as a virtual platform to train male and female pilgrims on their Haj rites, along with various other smart phone applications to assist pilgrims during their spiritual journey.

350,000 Recruited

Saudi Haj authorities have recruited more than 350,000 people from various sectors to serve the pilgrims during this Haj season, said

Meanwhile the Saudi Red Crescent Authority has deployed more than 119 advanced rescue teams, covering the areas of Makkah, the Grand Holy Mosque and Holy Sites.

By the end of last month, the customer service centre at the ministry of Hajj and Umrah received 34,397 calls on the unified number (8004304444) for callers inside the Kingdom and (920002814) for callers from inside and outside the country.

The centre revealed that it had also received 390 reports, 24,118 enquiries, 5,179 emails, and 3,297 complaints.

People can contact the centre on its Twitter handle: @MOH_CSC and email:

Dubai Gazette