Eastern Province police officers are poring over surveillance videos to identify the young men who sexually harassed five women at a mall in Dhahran last week, according to a police spokesman.
Lt. Col. Zayad Al-Ruqaiti, spokesman of the Eastern Province Police, said: “We are still working on identifying the harassers.”
Fahad Al-Otaibi, spokesman of the Arab Centers company that owns and manages the Mall of Dhahran, said the firm handed the surveillance tapes to the police.
“The video recordings show the faces of the young people involved in the harassment, which will make it easier for the police to identify them.”
“The management of the Mall of Dhahran is ready to cooperate with the police and the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.”
“The mall is huge and we have 150 security guards at normal times and 200 during the peak seasons such as the Eid holidays, Ramadan and school breaks. The situation is under control. The mall has not had any significant problems since it opened.”
He said the mall management allows young bachelors to enter through some gates, to access the food courts and restaurants from the morning until Maghrib prayer.
Many shocked Eastern Province residents called on government to punish the perpetrators.
Faten Al-Otaibi, an IT graduate and entrepreneur from Jubail, said: “This is not part of Islam and our culture, which is based on humanity, love and respect. This is shameful, they should be punished and publicly identified as an example for others.”
Souad Bassem, a woman teacher in Al-Khobar, said: “I was shocked to see the harassment, I couldn’t believe it. There have been malls and shopping markets here for decades, but there’s never been such a shameful incident. I’m sure appropriate action will be taken against those involved.”
Jawharah Abdullah, a local resident, said: “Our youth are bright and honorable. We appreciate and admire them, especially those who volunteered to help Haj pilgrims this year and those involved in various activities and social events.”
“But those harassers are miserable and ignorant, they distort the beautiful and true picture of the youth of the country. What they’ve done is unbelievable and unacceptable. I’m pretty confident that they wouldn’t allow such things to happen to their sisters or relatives.”