Mecca, Saudi Arabia (ANTARA) - The Saudi Arabian authority has placed an Indonesian social media influencer in detention for allegedly promoting and offering an illegal Hajj visa, according to the Indonesian Consul General in Jidda, Yusron Ambary.

"The person in question has been arrested by security officers," Yusron stated here on Friday (June 7).

He revealed that some pilgrims have used the service provided by the influencer. According to preliminary findings, the pilgrims are suspected of travelling for Hajj on a non-Hajj visiting visa provided by the suspect.

The consulate general is probing the whereabouts of the pilgrims, who could have been arrested as well if found performing Hajj without a Hajj visa by the Saudi authority, the consul general stated.

Yusron said the Saudi authority targets owners of social media accounts that offer non-Hajj visas for the Hajj pilgrimage, which they deem illegal yet remain widespread.

"The Saudi authority is intensifying inspection of social media accounts offering a Hajj visa without the need to wait for too long. The Saudi authority is determined to take action against non-procedural Hajj pilgrims," he stated.

Law No. 8 of 2019 on Hajj and Umrah stipulated that Indonesia's Hajj quota and the Hajj visa are determined by the religious affairs minister according to the agreement with Saudi Arabia. Performing a Hajj without a valid Hajj visa or with another non-Hajj visit visa is prohibited.

The consul general stated that social media accounts offering Hajj without a Hajj visa are operated by individuals in Indonesia or Saudi Arabia. Apart from travel agencies, some individuals are also known to offer Hajj through unauthorized means on social media.

"Our focus is to handle victims (affected by the illegal visa) in Saudi Arabia, including victims involved in the current case whose whereabouts we are currently seeking," Yusron remarked.

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Translator: Asep Firmansyah, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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