Model embroiled in $800k ‘gifts from Saudi king Salman’ mystery
Kuwaiti TV host Halima Boland has a sizeable social media presence [Getty]
The most beautiful women in the world would be slaves under your feet’ read the message accompanying the extravagant gifts to Kuwaiti TV presenter Halima Boland, purportedly from King Salman
Kuwaiti TV presenter and social media star Halima Boland left her Snapchat followers in both shock and awe on Monday after posting videos of 3 million riyals (US $800,000) worth of lavish gifts being delivered to her Riyadh hotel room, allegedly sent from Saudi Arabia’s King Salman.
However, as the extravagant gift-giving was met with a mix of shock and ridicule on social media, reports surfaced on Tuesday that Saudi authorities had arrested three men for deceiving Boland into wrongly believing the gifts were from the king.
The 37-year-old, who has 3.5 million followers on Instagram, posted a stream of videos to her followers on Monday in which she opens boxes full of gifts including jewellery, flowers and clothes.
She then films herself as she opens her door to hotel staff carting a trolley laden with more gifts into the social media star’s room. The lavish presents include an ornate box filled with dozens of bottles of perfume, inscribed with her name and those of her parents and daughters.
Inside the box is a message that reads: “Halima Abduljalil Boland, the most beautiful women in the world would be slaves under your feet.”
Did you love the gifts?!”
The videos also capture a note inside the box bearing the emblem of the Saudi king, sparking the Arabic language hashtag #the_king_gives_gifts_to_Halima on Twitter. Arabic tweets ridiculing the extravagant gifts and alleged corruption in the Saudi royal family.
How do you get rid of corruption when the corrupt put the righteous in jail and put thieves in power!”
An Emirati news channel reported on Tuesday that the Saudi police arrested three men – of Saudi, Lebanese and Indian nationalities – for tricking Boland into believing the gifts were from the king.
Neither Boland, nor the Saudi authorities, have issued a statement about the gifts or the real sender.
It would not be the first time the Saudi authorities have attempted to wage their influence over social media figures outside the kingdom.
Last week in London, Saudi YouTuber Ghanem Almasarir was threatened and physically attacked in public by two men who he is certain were acting on behalf of Riyadh, in order to frighten dissidents living abroad.
The attack follows a new Saudi law that criminalises people posting satirical posts online, with those convicted facing five years behind bars.
The new laws have led many to ridicule the so-called reforms that have taken place under the watch of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The young prince has pledged to rid the country of corruption and to liberalise the ultra-conservative kingdom’s laws, but many have pointed to some apparent contradictions in his plans.