Undercover king checks on the taxman

Jordan's king disguised himself in old clothes to find out how his subjects were treated at the tax office.

Jordan's king disguised himself in old clothes to find out how his subjects were treated at the tax office.

King Abdullah, 39, has become known for his undercover exploits since ascending to the throne after the death of his father, King Hussein.

On previous forays, he posed as a TV reporter, a taxi driver and an old man.

This time, Abdullah - sporting a white beard - wore a shabby white Arab dress and a traditional headdress. He was accompanied by his half brother, Prince Ali, 25 - who is in command of an elite force in charge of the king's security.

At Amman's Income Tax Department, Prince Ali submitted a form claiming a tax return, said officials at the department.

Al Arab al Yawm, a liberal Jordanian newspaper, said the king asked department employees to review Prince Ali's application, which was done, and that he mingled with people in the line behind him.

Income tax workers realised they'd had royal visitors only when the pair left the building - and drove away in a motorcade complete with Royal Palace security jeeps and wailing sirens.

The king-in-disguise ploy recalls the populist touch of King Hussein, who often mingled with his subjects.

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