Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sheer Panic and Reports of Illegal Arrests and Unwarranted Detainments Among Expats in Kuwait - Embassy Opens Hotline for Worried Expats.


KUWAIT CITY, June 11: The Philippine Embassy together with the Philippine Overseas Labour Office (POLO) has created a special task force to help Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in the wake of the massive crackdown by Kuwaiti authorities on illegal residents in the country, disclosed Philippine Charge d’Affaires Atty Raul H Dado on Tuesday to the Arab Times. The Philippine Embassy created the special task force after receiving reports from Filipinos being allegedly forcibly taken by authorities despite having legal residence status.

“We have created this special task force to address specifically the concerns of OFWs amid the ongoing crackdown and to allay their fears with all the circulating stories of arrests and detention of some Filipinos,” pointed out Dado after his meeting with the members of the special task force. He outlined that the task force will monitor the situation of Filipinos round the clock and will be ready to respond should anyone needs help. “We advise all Filipinos in Kuwait to contact the embassy hotline 55952909 or 65184433 in case of an emergency,” he urged.

Philippine Labour Attache David Des Dicang who was also present during the meeting explained that the task force has assigned point persons who will be in charge of every governorate that will cover areas under it. “We’re all on standby and ready to respond should anyone needs help,” stated Dicang.

With the ongoing crackdown on illegal residents, the Philippine Embassy urged its nationals to always bring with them their civil IDs and other legal documents and respect the labour law and traffic rules. “We have been reminding all our nationals to respect the laws of the host country, however, if you believe that your rights have been violated as a legal resident then please do not hesitate to contact the embassy so we can inform the concerned authorities immediately,” he stated.  He added that they have been closely coordinating with Kuwaiti authorities on the matter and have requested for the clear guidelines on the recent crackdown.

“We will be meeting again this week with Ministry of Interior officials hopefully to get some clear guidelines so we can cascade them to our nationals. I call on the Filipinos not to panic. The embassy is here to help you as long as it is within the bounds of the law,” stressed Dado

Among those who went to the embassy on Tuesday to report their traumatic experience during the recent crackdown in Salmiya were a 53-year-old mother and her 14-year-old daughter. “Guys in blue uniform kicked and destroyed our door and they forcibly entered our house at around 4:30 in the morning on June 10. We were all shocked as we are all sleeping.  We were four in the house, two ladies, my daughter and I. They asked for our Civil IDs and we gave them but when he saw the Civil ID of my daughter who is under visa 22 and my dependent, the police wanted to take her out of the house,” Noreen, not her real name, narrated. She explained to the man in blue uniform that her daughter is a student but he did not listen and tried to drag her daughter out of the house. “If you take her, I’ll go with you. I will not leave her without me, over my dead body,” she told the man in blue uniform.

Alyssa, not her real name, who is still recovering from her traumatic experience, told the Arab Times that when the police tried to drag her, she sat on the floor but he still kept on dragging her. “So my mom and I finally decided to go down with the guy but the car that the guy was supposed to go with already left and he even scolded us for the delay,” she stated.

The man who took them out waited for another police car to pass by. “When another police car arrived, I showed him our civil IDs and they decided to let us go. Due to the trauma, I failed to get the number of the police patrol car but we can clearly recognise their faces when we see them. I’ve been here in Kuwait since 1991 and this is the first time that I was traumatised,” stated Noreen.

Meanwhile, Randy, not his real name, also went to the embassy on Tuesday after he was allegedly forcibly taken inside his house during the random house-to-house checking in Hawally at around 1:00 am on June 10. “They opened the door by force and destroyed it. They took my civil ID and my mobile phone. Six of us were cramped at the back of the police car and they took us to the Mishref police station,” he recounted.

 After authorities checked on the computer system that he has a valid residence, they still detained him and released him after eight hours and he got back his civil ID and mobile phone. He added that during their detention, the police asked them to group together and they allegedly placed some gallons and other paraphernalia at the centre before taking photo of those who were detained. “Today, I was very surprised to see my face on that group photo splashed on the crime page of the local newspapers as one of the illegal residents arrested during the raid in Hawally,” he lamented. He complained that his rights were violated as he has a valid residence and he is not a criminal. “I don’t even drink because I have hypertension, how can I be one of those accused of doing illegal activities? When in fact those paraphernalia were just placed there for the photo and it’s published in the papers,” he lamented.

The news item along with the group photo went viral on various social networking sites on Tuesday prompting his family, friends and colleagues to call him up. “My wife who is in Spain called me up crying because she saw my photo on Facebook. You can’t just imagine the damage and the trauma it has done to me and my family,” he pointed out.  He asked the embassy to help him clear his name after the publication of that photo. “I have decided just to go home and leave Kuwait for good after this unfortunate and traumatic experience,” he said.

By: Michelle Fe Santiago Arab Times Staff

LWDLIK - These are very worrying times for many. I had my husband call one top official yesterday and ask about the rumours and stories - as I had friends frantically calling me. That official claims that these violations are not happening (???). So either we have rogue cops or management are not overseeing this problem properly or a lot of expats telling lies.

Please Abdulfattah ensure that these stories are investigated fully. This does not look good at all. Sad days indeed.



  1. The Philippine Embassy always helps their nationals. The Indian Embassy is a different story. I'm hearing first-hand accounts of these awful events from friends. What kind of Nazi mentality has gotten into these thugs? I ask again: Is this Kuwait?? These types of events went on in 90 and 91.... Have the victims become the victimizers? What's next?

    1. Thank God it seems to have calmed down now.


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