KUWAIT: More than 100 people were arrested during a police crackdown in Hawally, in the largest haul since authorities launched campaigns targeting illegal residents around the country earlier this week and which have so far resulted in the arrest of nearly 300 people.

The Interior Ministry said in a press statement yesterday that Hawally security department carried out a campaign in Nugra Wednesday night, during which they arrested 118 persons including 93 who failed to produce civil IDs and 12 with expired visas. Among the detainees were also nine fugitives, two people caught with drugs, one drunk person and one crossdresser, the Interior Ministry explained. The detainees were taken to the proper authorities for further action, it added.

The most recent figures increase the number of people who have been arrested during recent police crackdowns in Kuwait to 286. Police had carried out a campaign in Fahaheel Industrial Area earlier on Wednesday, in which they arrested 64 residency law violators and eight juveniles. On Tuesday, police carried out a similar campaign in Bneid Al-Gar, during which they arrested 96 people.

The recent crackdowns are the largest wide-scale police campaign against illegal residents in Kuwait since authorities had announced amnesty periods during the pandemic, allowing residents without valid visas to either legalize their status or leave the country without paying fines. The first amnesty in April 2020 allowed illegals to leave the country without paying fines and with a free air ticket. Authorities said around 30,000 expats of various nationalities benefited from the amnesty.

The second amnesty for illegal residents - estimated at 150,000 people - was announced for the month of November 2020, and later extended for two more months, officially ending on January 31, 2021. During that period, the interior ministry asked all residents living in the country on temporary visas, which had been automatically extended during the pandemic until November 30, to legalize their stay in the country by obtaining residency or leave Kuwait before November 30. No official statistics were released for the number of people who had availed the amnesty.