Traffic Violation Notification

Posted by Mark

Last month on March 16th, a speeding camera flashed me late at night on my way home. Since I had recently signed up with the MOI’s traffic violations notification service, I marked the day down on my calendar so I could figure out how long it would take before I get an SMS. Finally, yesterday (April 1st) I got the message saying I owe a KD30 fine for speeding.

So basically it takes around 2 weeks from the day you get caught for the fine to register. That’s not that bad.


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Kuwait Law: Shoplifting

Posted by Fajer Ahmed

Hi everyone, my name is Fajer and I’m a legal counsel at a local law firm. One of Mark’s forum users had a law related question and he thought it might be a good idea to get me involved on the blog with law related posts starting with the questions his forum user had. I’ll post the users problem first followed by my response below it.

THE PROBLEM
My brother was accused of shoplifting a packet of AAA batteries at a supermarket. He was leaving the supermarket when the detector at the exit started buzzing and they found the battery pack on him. It was by accident and he tried to explain that to them but he was arrested, booked and slapped with a robbery case as well as a travel ban.

My questions are the following:
1) What is the law here towards shoplifting?
2) Is it justifiable to send a guy to jail and keep him there for more than 24 hours without a case?
3) I heard from a friend of mine supermarkets usually don’t get first time offenders arrested and just end up paying a penalty instead is that true?
4) Is it possible to friendly settle this case out of court?

THE RESPONSE
The answer to your situation is not very straight forward but I will try to go through your questions and explain everything to you.

1) What is the law here towards shoplifting?
There is no specific law in Kuwait towards shoplifting but the act of shoplifting falls under the crime of robbery. The official English translation of the Kuwaiti criminal law describes robbery in Article 217 as “A person is guilty of robbery, if he embezzles movable property, owned by a third party, with the intent to acquire it” … ahhh lawyers and their confusing legal sentences… so wait lets break things down.

In every law, for any country, all crimes consist of two parts:

Point here is that you have to have intent to steal to be charged with robbery. If your brother forgot to pay for the batteries by accident, the verdict should be innocent but to get to that verdict you need to prove “Mens Rea”.

2) Is it justifiable to send a guy to jail and keep him there for more than 24 hours without a case?
According to the new criminal procedures law (and without getting into detail), the police officers have the right to hold someone up to 48hrs (it used to be longer) if they are accused of a crime. This would not be in prison but in a police station with the aim of starting an initial investigation before going to court. Their initial investigation might be to ask a few questions, find evidence and to figure out what laws apply.

3) I heard from a friend of mine supermarkets usually don’t get first time offenders arrested and just end up paying a penalty instead is that true?
Article 143 states that it is a crime to not report a robbery so the Supermarket was abiding by the law when they reported the crime to the police. Now some supermarkets might be more forgiving and let it slide, but, “letting it slide” is a crime on their part and so I could understand why some supermarkets wouldn’t want to let it slide.

An interesting fact, if you’re inside a supermarket and you pick up a chocolate bar, eat it and then leave the supermarket without paying for it, then you have not “taken the property from the possession of a third party” (as the law article goes on to define embazzlment) therefore you have not moved the object from the ownership of the supermarket and so is not defined as robbery. This definition caused a lot of problems in Kuwait because people were using services and not paying for them or eating at restaurants and not paying for the meal so another law was passed where it said that this action was not a crime… but you had to pay a fine of KD75 plus the cost of the service or food you ate. So most likely that’s the penalty you heard about.

4) Is it possible to friendly settle this case out of court?
No it is not possible to settle robbery cases in Kuwait. Some crimes in Kuwait like robbery are considered to be against the community and not just the supermarket and so one individual does not have the right to settle it. The criminal court needs to look into the case.

So I know you didn’t ask me this, but…

5) What is the punishment for robbery in Kuwait?
Article 219 of the criminal states the punishment as being up to 2 years of jail time or/and a fee of up to 2000 Rupees (yes the law is that old that the fees are still in Indian Rupees).

So this means that a judge can ask the accused to go to jail for 2 weeks or 2 months or 6 months and 3 days just as long as it is not more than 2 years. Or he can make you pay 100 rupees or 1500 rupees. He could also decide no punishment or both a jail time and fine. The judges have a lot of power here.

But the maximum isn’t always 2 years because Article 221 was added and changed it to 3 years for certain situations:

Hope the above helps you out. One more thing I forgot to mention, the cost of the item doesn’t matter so a packet of AAA batteries or a gold necklace are treated the same.

Fajer Ahmed – Legal Counsel
Have a Kuwait law related question? Email me at fajer.ar@gmail.com

The legal opinions expressed in this post are those of the author Fajer. Opinions expressed by Mark or any other writer on 248am.com are those of the individual’s and in no way reflect Fajer’s opinion.


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Take a peek inside the VVIP Terminal

Posted by Mark

I’ve never seen the terminal up close but based on the photos it’s a lot bigger and nicer than I imagined it to be. I’m also surprised there aren’t even more photos online… or at least I couldn’t find any. Check out some photos of the terminal [Here]

Note: First photo from [Here]


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Cargo Ship Averts Collision with KPC Building

Posted by Mark

Yesterday morning a cargo ship heading into Shuwaikh port veered off path and nearly collided with the KPC building. The cargo ship had to be pulled back out into sea by tugboats and an investigation is currently taking place into the cause of this incident.

The pictures in this post were taken by KPC employees and it kinda looks like their might have been an oil leak as well. [Source]


[YouTube]


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Kuwait Energy: Green Wall Documentary

Posted by Mark

“The Kuwait Green Wall” project, which aims to plant 315,000 trees on a stretch of 420 kilometers on the borders of the country in a call to implement effective solutions to the rising environmental and climate issues.

I would rather they plant 315,000 trees in Salmiya where I can at least see them instead of all the way in the middle of no where but that’s just me. Sorry I’m just pissed off because the middle sidewalk in old Salmiya has still not been planted. [YouTube]

Warning: Documentary may cause drowsiness

Update: Maybe they should first launch a campaign to stop cutting trees in Kuwait?

Photo by @BasilAlsalem


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Iraq Invasion Anniversary

Posted by Mark

Not a lot of people might know this but back in 2003 I ran a warblog with a few a friends of mine called qHate. The blog started just as the Iraq invasion was going to take place and so we started covering life in Kuwait during that period. Since it was the anniversary of the Iraq invasion a couple of days back, here are some of my favorite posts from that blog:

Life of a Soldier in Kuwait
Pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Pictures of Soldiers on streets of Kuwait
The First Siren
The Gas Masks
Just a bit of fun
People shouldn’t live like this
Strange Days
My Latest Adventure
Pictures of Souq Sharq after missile attack
Wolf Blitzer

For more posts you can visit qHate [Here]


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Introducing Entertainment City and the Ice Skating Rink

Posted by Mark

Someone uploaded an old video in which Entertainment City and the Ice Skating Rink were being introduced to the viewers. No idea if the video was made before they were built my guess is it was or else they would have included pictures of the actual projects completed. [YouTube]

Thanks Khalid


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I Am Legend Kuwait

Posted by Mark

My life (Spec ad) from Mubarak Almubarak on Vimeo.

The intro with the destroyed Kuwait City landscape kinda reminds me of the movie I Am Legend. Very cool effects by Kuwaiti director Mubarak Almubarak. Check out his other videos [Here]

Thanks The Knight


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UAE Opens Biggest Solar Power Station In The World

Posted by Mark

The Shams Power Company opened their Shams 1 concentrated solar power station this week in Abu Dhabi. The station generates 100 MW and can power 20,000 homes while reducing CO2 emissions by 175,000 tons per year. [Source]

Kuwait is currently in the process of building a solar power station as well and is expected to be completed by the end of this year (2013).

The project took about two years and $600 million to build. [Source]

Now this is what I find interesting. Their solar power station is costing $600 million to build while ours is costing just $16 million. So our power station is either going to be super tiny or they got ripped off pretty badly.

On a similar subject, here is a link to vintage photos of the Shuwaikh Power Station taken back in the 1950s. [Link]


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Kuwait to segregate medical care

Posted by Mark

Under the change, Kuwaitis will be given priority for medical checkups at public hospitals and clinics during the morning, with foreigners only able to access doctors in the afternoon, unless it is an emergency.

Staff also will be segregated according to their nationality, with Kuwaitis working in the morning and expat doctors in the afternoon. [Source]

Even though this doesn’t apply to emergency treatment it still doesn’t make it less racist.


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