Police arrest 17 people in North West for illegal mining activity

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Seventeen people, aged 20 to 40, have been arrested for alleged involvement in illegal mining.

According to police, the people were intercepted while on their way to a mine shaft in Orkney, in the North West.

"Police followed up on information about a consignment of food which was to be dropped off at a ventilation shaft by alleged kingpins and their assistants," Hawks spokesperson Captain Tlangelani Rikhotso said.

Rikhotso said: 

When the suspects spotted the police, they allegedly started shooting. The team managed to apprehend 16 assistants and one kingpin. The rifleman fled into the shaft and could not be arrested.

The group was allegedly found in possession of R14 800 in cash, illegal mining paraphernalia and about three tons of food.

Police also seized a Toyota LDV at the shaft.

The 17 people are expected to appear in the Orkney Magistrate's Court on 21 February.


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