Five Chinese and their Ghanaian counterparts have been arrested by officials of the Forestry Commission (FC) at Bekwai for engaging in illegal gold mining activities (galamsey) in the Apamprama Forest Reserve in the Amansie East municipality of the Ashanti Region.
The suspects were arrested around 9:30 am on Saturday at the Kobro portion of the Forest Reserve while they were seriously using excavators and other mining equipment to dig for gold.
Emmanuel Agyapong Donkor, Deputy Forestry Manager for the Bekwai district of the FC, said three of the arrested persons were Ghanaians who were also neck-deep in the illegal mining activity.
He told DAILY GUIDE that the suspects were found with two excavators and other mining tools when officials went into the forest reserve upon a tipoff.
The galamseyers, Mr. Donkor intimated, had destroyed the land and depleted the forest in their search for gold, adding that the suspects were later handed over to the police for investigations.
He identified the suspects as Sasha Wu, Fung Mao, Zhang Ihai and Li-hang – all Chinese nationals – and gave the names of their Ghanaian counterparts as Albert Ampong, Alfred Kwame Yankey and Iddi Baba.
Bekwai Divisional Police Commander, ACP Emmanuel Appiah, who confirmed the arrest of the illegal miners, said the case was under police investigation.
He told DAILY GUIDE that the men had been granted a police enquiry bail and would be reporting frequently to assist officers with investigation.
He said at the time of the arrest, they had caused damage to the Koboro portion of the forest reserve. The authorities seized two excavators.
Twelve Chinese nationals were arrested in January for mining in restricted forest reserves.
From Ernest Kofi Adu, Kumasi