Eight people arrested for mining in forest reserve

Eight people including five Chinese have been arrested for illegally prospecting for gold in the Kobro portion of the Apamprama forest reserve in the Bekwai District of the Ashanti Region.

The eight Li Hang, Sasha Wu, Fung Mao, Zhang Ihai and Shaipam, all Chinese and their Ghanaian counterparts, Albert Ampong, Alfred Kwame Yankey and Iddi Bab were arrested by the Rapid Respond Team of the Forestry Commission in the Bekwai District.

The team also seized two excavators that the illegal miners were using.

Briefing the Graphic Online, the Deputy District Forestry Manager for Asante Bekwai, Mr Emmanuel Agyapong Donkor, said the commission received intelligence about their activities and had for the past one and half months been monitoring them.

He said last Friday, January 30, 2016, the commission got hint that the group was moving there with their excavators to mine and ‘we quickly dispatched a team there to be on the lookout.’

According to him, when the team got there ‘lo and behold, we saw them busily working and we quickly informed out Rapid Respond Team who came in to effect their arrest.’

He said the suspects have since been handed over to the police to be processed for court.

Mr Donkor said the commission was waging a relentless war on illegal miners who destroy the nation’s forest reserves.

He said the illegal miners who are mostly foreigners are led by Ghanaians to commit such acts.

In December last year, the Nkawie district forestry commission arrested three Chinese and a Ghanaian prospecting for gold in the Asenanyo forest reserve near Nkawie.

The Ghanaian, Kwabena Boakye, who appeared before the Nkawie Circuit Court, pleaded guilty to the three counts of unlawful entry, causing unlawful damage and prospecting without licence and was fined a total of Ghc73, 763.

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