Runaway Timber Galamsey Queen In Court

Helen Huang

The ‘timber galamsey’ queen from China, whose arrest and subsequent escape made headlines in early May, has made a dramatic appearance at a Circuit Court in Tamale, the Northern Regional capital.

Helen Huang was stopped by the police at a barrier in Tamale transporting large quantities of banned rosewood and in the heat of the moment escaped without trace when she was granted bail, sparking public outrage.

The suspect was spotted at the Tamale Circuit Court yesterday in the company of two men together with the surety, one Mohammed Bondrigum.

Information gathered indicated that she handed herself to the Northern Regional Police Command on Monday and was arraigned yesterday.

Lawyer for the surety, Sylvester Ishawu, pleaded with the court presided over by Twumasi Appiah to let the surety go since the suspect had turned herself in.

The court granted the request of the surety and discharged him subsequently. The court then handed over Helen Huang to the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) for further investigations.

The judge explained that a formal charge had not been placed on the suspect and could not detain her.

Later, the Northern Regional GIS Boss, Chief Supt. William Appiah Andoh, disclosed to DAILY GUIDE that the 43-year-old Chinese woman would be transferred to Accra for further investigation.

According to him, the suspect has been questioned and her statement taken by the GIS and said they were due to fly her to the GIS in Accra for further action.

Helen Huang was granted bail by the police after she was arrested with two trucks carrying four containers of rosewood, which has been banned. When she went missing, the Northern Regional Crime Officer, Superintendent Otuo Aceampong, confirmed that she had defied an order to report to the police station.

The suspect was transporting the rosewood through the Northern Region to Tema in the Greater Accra Region. There was drama at the Regional Police Command when Helen Huang accused the police at the barrier of demanding bribe from her to allow safe passage.

According to her, she was arrested because she refused to pay bribe demanded by the police and not because she does not have the right documents.

Many people overexploit rosewood in the wild despite a 2010 moratorium on trade and illegal logging which continues in the country on a large scale.

In Ghana, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has banned the harvest of rosewood in line with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

FROM Eric Kombat, Tamale