The five Chinese, including a woman, arrested for allegedly engaging in illegal mining at Bepotenteng in the Amansie Central District in the Ashanti Region have been transferred to the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) Headquarters in Accra for further investigations.
The four men were arrested by the GIS in makeshift wooden structures at a mining site at Bepotenteng at 7 p.m last Friday.
They are Gao Jin Cheng, 45; Lu Qi Jun, 39; Haibin Gao, 26; Zhang Zhang Pen, 23, and the woman, En Huang, 30, also known as Aisha Huang, believed to be the kingpin in galamsey operations in the area.
More information needed
Information gathered at the GIS Headquarters yesterday indicated that Immigration officials needed to establish some facts concerning their immigrant status in the country before further action could be taken against the five Chinese.
According to sources at the GIS, En Huang, who is married to a Ghanaian, rented excavators for galamsey operators to engage in the galamsey business.
They said Ms En was said to have invited the four Chinese, said to be technicians, to come to Ghana to repair her earth-moving machines.
She is said to have defended the four Chinese, arguing that they are in the country to work on her machines and not to do galamsey.
But the sources said the GIS needed to determine whether the four were really invited by Ms En, the type of immigrant visa they held and also seek information on whether they were in the country legally or illegally.
They said the GIS had been able to retrieve only two passports from the four Chinese and was, therefore, getting the woman, who was alleged to have brought them into the country, to produce the passports of the remaining two.
“The statement we have received indicates that they were involved in small-scale mining activities at the time they were arrested. But the woman claims that the people were there working on her machines.
“But we need to verify all those pieces of information and once that is done, we will be in a position to establish a legal basis. As we speak, all the information is being put together,” the GIS sources told the Daily Graphic.
Need to build a good case
The said it was important for the GIS to secure every available information to be able to build a good case and explained that the service was aware of the high interest of Ghanaians in the case as a result of the campaign against galamsey in the country.
“So, as soon as we conclude our investigations, we will duly inform the public and the next line of action,” the sources said.
At the time of going to press yesterday, the Daily Graphic gathered that the GIS administration had decided to put the five Chinese before court today.