(MENAFN - Arab News) A YouTube video that shows a British couple allegedly being attacked by officials from the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Haia) at a shopping mall in Riyadh has gone viral on social media forums prompting local officials and senior Haia functionaries to launch an investigation.
About 300000 viewers have seen the clip so far. 'The British Embassy is fully aware of the incident and the embassy is offering every possible assistance to the couple' said a British Embassy spokesman on Monday. He however refused to share more information on the incident.
Haia spokesman Turki Al-Shaleel said Haia President Abdullatif Al-Asheikh has ordered an investigation into the incident which took place on Friday night. The short video shows a man dressed in a traditional Saudi thobe jumping on the Briton in the presence of his wie who is seen wearing a black abaya.
They have been identified as Peter Howarth Lees and his Saudi wife Abeer in different online reports published on Monday. Arab News could not reach Lees for a first-hand account of the incident.
Opinions were divided on the details surrounding the incident. One eyewitness said the incident took an ugly turn when the Briton hurled abuses at Haia men after they had asked him to leave a supermarket counter allocated for women and families. The man had initially been standing alone in that queue said eyewitness Ibrahim Abdul Rahman whose interview has been published in a section of the Arabic press.
Abdul Rahman said he went to the parking lot and noticed the Haia men writing down notes on a piece of paper during which the British man started taking pictures of the Haia members and their car.
Continued on Page 4