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62                       THE  EGYPTIAN PROBLEM                CHAP.    |;
foreign communities includes a considerable number of   [ natives, who have been allowed by methods which, at   ; any rate in the past, would not always stand inquiry   ? to acquire the same rights of protection as those enjoyed   j by residents of undoubted foreign extraction. • Amongst   > them are to be found some of  the most undesirable   \ elements of the Levant, who chiefly use the privileges conferred by the Capitulations to defeat the law of the   \ land and often to escape the penalties which, in any other country, would speedily overtake their nefarious practices.    Nor is that all.    They lend their names to Egyptian subjects of the same kidney,.with whom they enter into clandestine and collusive ^partnerships.   Every illicit trade can thus be carried on with relative impunity not only by foreign but also by Egyptian subjects under cover of the Capitulations.    By the time the Egyptian   r authorities  have  fulfilled  the  necessary formalities to enable them to enter the premises of a receiver of stolen goods,  of a petty tradesman using false weights and measures, of a keeper of a gambling hell or a house of    I ill-fame, or of a dealer in forbidden drugs, he will in nine cases out of ten have got wind of what is coming through   some  of  the   many   channels   of  information always available in an Oriental country, where notoriously    . nothing is ever kept secret, and when the Egyptian police arrive with the Consular official in attendance,the premises have been swept and garnished and every trace of offence carefully cleared away.     Even when the law can be and is at last  enforced, it is   generally only after incredible delays, and then it is probably not   the  real offender but some man of straw who is at last brought to book.    There have been cases in which the ownership of premises used for illicit purposes has been found to be vested jointly or successively in foreigners of four different  nationalities.     Lord  Cromer's  annual reports and those of his successors  teem with instances that illustrate   the   resourcefulness   of   the   law-breakers   in exploiting  the  benefits   of   the   Capitulations  and theifc