124 Chinese arrested in Ghana for illegal gold mining, raping women

Last Updated: Thursday, June 6, 2013 - 20:17

Beijing: Police in Ghana have arrested 124 Chinese nationals on charges of illegal gold mining, some of whom were also accused of raping the locals.
The Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) yesterday announced that 124 suspected Chinese illegal miners were detained in Accra, the capital of the West African country.

Francis Palmdeti, the head of public affairs of the GIS, told that the Chinese arrestees were involved in illegal gold mining in the central region of Ashanti, as well as in western and eastern regions, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Some of them have overstayed without legal documents. The GIS are conducting further investigation to decide how many of them should be repatriated.

The Chinese Embassy in Ghana has confirmed the arrests.

"We have cautioned all the Chinese people in Ghana to strictly abide by the related laws and regulations and never to be misled by the unauthorised information in Internet, " Embassy`s spokenperson Yu Jie said.

The reports take the shine of China`s much advertised friendly policy to Africa where Beijing is sinking billions of dollars of investments in various projects in different African countries.

After the arrests, state-run media here reported today that officials in Shanglin County in Southwest China`s Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region asked locals from going to Republic of Ghana for gold mining.

Most of the miners who went to Ghana were reportedly from Shanglin and a number those who were arrested on charges of illegal mining were from here, according to a report in the China Daily website.

But a report in the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post said they were arrested on the charges of raping local women.

A statement from the Shanglin government said that the "gold rush" started in 2006.

Currently around 12,000 Chinese from Shanglin were engaged in gold mining in Ghana, it said but unofficial estimates put the number over 50,000.

Chinese gold miners arrested this week in a raid in Ghana have been accused of raping and abusing locals, the Post report said.

A first-person account making the allegations emerged on China`s social media today after some web users speculated that Ghana police had mistreated the miners amid a crackdown.

The Chinese embassy in Ghana said no Chinese citizens detained were injured, but confusion and anger intensified among the Chinese online community after rumours claimed that Chinese-owned factories were burned down and several Chinese workers were killed during the raid.

The Post quoted the diary of an unidentified writer of
Ghana as saying that thousands of Chinese workers are abusing Ghanaian workers "on a daily basis".

The local people in Ghana "work the dirtiest and toughest jobs, but are fed the most terrible food - worse than what the Chinese feed their dogs," the report said.

The write-up also accused the Chinese of regularly raping and harassing local female workers.

Out of fear they might lose their job, locals kept quiet and let the Chinese have their way, it said.

In one incident, a Ghanaian worker was shot by a Chinese worker for unknown reasons.

After, the Chinese person allegedly said indifferently: "What a pity he wasn`t killed", according to the diary.

An estimated 50,000 gold diggers, known as "the Shanglin gang", work in Ghana`s gold mines, Africa`s largest producer of the metal after South Africa.

Many say they have been lured to the foreign land after hearing friends and relatives` outrageous stories of their success.

Ghana`s government has accused the Chinese prospectors of working without permits and said their mining methods - often unregulated - polluted rivers and lakes, the Post report said.


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First Published: Thursday, June 6, 2013 - 20:17

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