Early on Monday, Saudi Arabia's religious police said it is attempting to identify and investigate an individual who is allegedly a member of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice for offending women who were attending national day festivities, Okaz reported.
This comes after a video of the unidentified man verbally abusing women in the streets of Abha city went viral on Twitter late on Saturday.
In it, the man is heard directing insults at women, saying: "You have no shame, no religion, no tribe...!"
"On judgment day, you're going to be barefoot and naked. You won't be laughing when that day comes," he adds.
In their statement on the matter, Assir governorate's religious authority said it's looking into the matter.
Speaking to Okaz, the authority's official spokesperson Mohammad Assiri explained that it still isn't clear whether the man is a real member of the authority or not.
"We are currently investigating the incident, and will issue an official statement on it soon."
"On judgement day you're going to be barefoot and naked. You won't be laughing when that day comes"
Mixed reactions on social media
As soon as the video started to make the rounds online, it divided people on social media.
While some vehemently attacked the alleged religious police member for insulting women the way he did, others said he was only doing his job.
"These people want us to live in sorrow. All they do is try to scare people by talking about hell. They've forgotten that worship should simply just be part of life."
"What gives him the right to attack people like this?"
"Where's the goodness in his preaching?"
"What the authority is applying is a form of guardianship, not religion"
Many still defended the authority though
"He isn't attacking them, he's simply sharing advice. God bless religious police officers."
"Because he was trying to give them advice, you call it an 'attack'"
Others called for the return of the religious police
"We hope that the religious police will make a comeback."
The changing role of religious police in the kingdom
In 2016, Saudi Arabia issued a law to regulate its religious police.
The law bans members of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice from arresting suspects or practicing any other form of law enforcement on them.
It also says that committee members are not allowed to "stop people, put reservations on them, chase them, ask for their documents, verify their identities or follow them."
Although the law did not make changes to the day-to-day responsibilities of committee members, such as banning the sale and consumption of alcohol and ensuring women are properly covered, it did make changes to the way members carry them out.
According to latest news reports, the kingdom is now discussing plans to further curb the authority's activities in coming months.