Waropen, Papua (ANTARA) - Indonesian security personnel arrested six undocumented Chinese nationals found illegally mining gold in Sewa village, Wapoga sub-district, Waropen district, Papua province, on Sunday.

They were identified as Ge Junfeng (48), Lein Feng (37), Yan Gangping (41), Tan Liguo (54 ), Tan Lihua (58), and Lu Huacheng (38 ), Lt.Col.Leon Pangaribuan, commanding officer of the 1709/Yawa District Military Command, informed in a statement received by ANTARA here on Monday.

The Chinese nationals had been in Sewa village for four days, said Pangaribuan.

The illegal aliens' whereabouts were detected after a local resident informed officers of the 1709-03/Warbah Sub-district Military Command, he added. The army personnel then went to the village and nabbed them, he continued.

The Chinese nationals could not show any legal documents, including passports, nor did they speak the Indonesian language, Pangaribuan said, adding that they were handed over to the Biak immigration authority.

According to the Papua Immigration Office, 116 foreign nationals faced legal sanctions and were deported last year.

Ninety-nine of the 116 illegal immigrants were Papua New Guinea (PNG) citizens, while the remaining 17 comprised 14 Chinese nationals, two South Korean nationals, and one US citizen, it informed.

Currently, Papua province has immigration offices in Jayapura, Merauke, Timika, and Biak as well as 10 active immigration checkpoints and two cross-border posts.

ANTARA has reported that illegal gold mining activities have oftentimes been blamed for the environmental damage that has resulted in landslides and flash floods in various parts of Indonesia.

In this context, President Joko Widodo had drawn attention to the criticality of curbing illegal gold mining activities to prevent the recurrence of natural disasters in the future.

At a recent webinar, Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM) Minister Arifin Tasrif had said that illegal mining activities were acts of crime, and the Indonesian government will continue to crack down on them.

The rising market prices of mineral and coal commodities over the past year have triggered an increase in illegal mining activities in various parts of Indonesia, he added.

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Translator: Muhsidin, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Sri Haryati
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