The Chinese galamsey operators
An operation by the Western Regional Police Command to flush out miscreants engaged in illegal mining (galamsey) in river bodies has led to the arrest of five Chinese nationals who were reportedly mining gold in River Ankobra.
The Chinese were reportedly spotted mining in the river in two communities – Bamiankor and Duwale – in the region.
Five other Ghanaians, who were alleged to have engaged in the illegal activity, were also busted.
DAILY GUIDE gathered that the operation, which was carried out yesterday, followed complaints by Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) that water bodies in some parts of the region were gradually losing their essence due to excessive pollution through illegal mining.
Some of the residents also pointed out that the unannounced swoop was embarked upon following a tip-off the police received from an informant.
The Chinese suspects are Dong Cheng, 30; Hung Jian, 51; Ning Guorui, 42; Yin Biquiang, 46 and Li Zilong, 44.
The Ghanaians are Eric Owusu, 28; Kwabena Adjei, 50; Nana Adu, 42; Kwasi Owusu, 28, and Kofi Darko, 21.
The police were said to have seized mining equipment from the suspects.
Speaking in separate interviews, most of the residents asserted that the Chinese were mainly to blame for the polluted water bodies in their communities.
“Our water bodies are being destroyed by these galamsey operators. We have observed that it is the Chinese who have brought machines and are in the Ankobra and Pra rivers excavating and processing the alluvial gold in the rivers,” a resident averred.
They appealed to foreign investors not to engage in such illegalities but to contact the appropriate ministries and agencies if they want to engage in mining, explaining that every mineral anywhere in Ghana belongs to the state.
Some of the people also indicated that that was not the first time Chinese nationals had been arrested for engaging in illegal mining, but they kept polluting streams and water bodies in the Western Region.
“While some Chinese nationals are engaged in the illegal mining activities, others are involved in renting out of equipment for the illegal act. Something should be done to halt their activities,” the resident appealed.
Western Regional Police Public Relations Officer (PRO), ASP Olivia Ewurabena Adiku, confirmed the arrest in an interview with DAILY GUIDE.
According to the PRO, the suspects claimed they sold all their gold to another Chinese, Wang Weng, at Wassa Akropong on Thursday but the money had been transferred to China.
She disclosed that the suspects were put before a Sekondi Magistrate Court and remanded into custody to reappear on Monday, March 27, 2017.
From Emmanuel Opoku, Takoradi