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Crime & Punishment of Friday, 8 September 2017


Chinese galamseyers break public smoking rule

The nine alleged Chinese illegal miners (galamseyers) who were arrested by the Operation Vanguard (anti-galamsey taskforce) in the Eastern Region on Thursday shocked several persons who thronged the Koforidua high court to observe proceedings as they (accused persons) were seen openly smoking cigarettes.

At the premises of the court, the Chinese were spotted smoking after they had been granted bail in the sum of GH¢100,000 each with one surety each by the presiding judge, Mercy Adei Kotei.

They were laughing among themselves in the company of one “Iron Lady,” who was reportedly sent by the Chinese Embassy to the court, making a number of calls believed to be seeking the sureties and the money for the bail.

The accused persons seemed not perturbed about the court’s demand as they walked out of the courtroom without any police escort as they lit their cigarettes.

Observers who were surprised about what they saw – with the scent of the smoke engulfing the entire court compound – kept wondering why the security agents could not stop them, since it violated Section 58 of the Public Health Act 2012 (Act 851).

The passports of the foreigners were however, not confiscated despite pleas by the prosecutor, Cyril Boateng Keteku, as they are facing preliminary charges of conspiracy to mine, mining without licence, illegal mining and possession of fire arms. The case has been adjourned to October 3, 2017.

The Operation Vanguard, in collaboration with Forestry Commission staff, arrested the nine Chinese and two Ghanaians allegedly mining illegally in the Kweik

aru Forest Reserve in the New Abirem District of the Eastern Region.

The accused Chinese are Johnson Zhang, 29; Wang Zheng hou, 55; Wang Zhi Dong, 47; Tony Yin, 47; Cheng Sheng Xhi, 61; Zao Wen Lu, 43; Liu Zhang Hai, 49; Wang Zhi Gong, 47 and Shi Zhi Hai, 49.

Two Ghanaians also arrested are Maxwell Anim, 34 and Akare Thompson, 39.

The team also retrieved an amount of GH¢66,000, £100, $340 and ¥2,567. One Mitsubishi Pajaro, a Nissan Hardbody, one steng gun, 104 AA cartridges, two boxes of dynamite explosives, 39 rounds of 9mm long ammunition, one Jimis, Himderson pistol, one blasting machine, pump action gun and one automatic rifle, were also confiscated by the taskforce.

It also reportedly set ablaze 58 Chanfai machines and torched camps of the illegal miners at the Nyafoman portion of the Kweikaru Forest Reserve during a swoop at Nyafoman, Nwiiso, Amenam and Oseikrom.

The illegal miners, as gathered, have degraded over 120 hectares of the forest and dug many trenches, posing danger to the forest guards.

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