Kuwait deports expats for cutting roadside plants

Flowers in front of the Kuwait towers Image copyright Alamy
Image caption Hands off the plants: Kuwait has warned foreigners about its strict environmental laws

Kuwait is to deport two foreign workers for cutting flowers from a roadside, amid a wider drive to expel expat lawbreakers.

Police said the pair were caught pinching plants from the landscaped verges of a major Kuwait City ring road, the Gulf News daily reports. The expats, whose names and nationality have not been given, apparently intended to supply them to a private livestock farm.

Only two weeks earlier, the authorities promised a "zero-tolerance" approach to enforcing the country's 2014 environmental protection law, with police singling out foreigners found "damaging seasonal plants and flowers at public parks". The authorities warned that any expats who violated the law would face immediate deportation.

The tough approach comes amid a wider drive to reduce Kuwait's reliance on foreign labour. In 2013, the government said it would seek to cut the number of expat workers - then estimated to account for more than half of the country's 3.3 million population - by about one million. In the latest major push to meet the target, the Gulf state last year said it would deport about 100,000 foreign workers who had overstayed their visas.

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