ARMENIAN POLICE CHIEF CALLS FOR EFFORTS TO FIGHT ILLEGAL GOLD HUNTING
Photo by ArmeniaNow.com
Chief of Armenian Police Vladimir Gasparyan has called for strict
measures to combat illegal gold search in the Gegharkunik region.
As he told the local police officers in the course of a recent tour
to the eastern region, the ~Sgold hunters~T often start the search
for the precious metal notwithstanding the imminent risk of death.
~SExploiting minors and exposing them to risk is trafficking in the
strictest sense of the word. Theft is not of paramount concern ~V we
may find the thief ~V what troubles me most is slavery. How long can
the lure of gold lead one to killing people?~T Gasparyan said, adding
that minors aged between 14-16 are often exploited for such purposes.
Speaking to Tert.am, the governor of the Sotk village, Kolik
Shahsurvaryan, said the cases of drowning or mine collapse (which used
to be quite widespread in the village) have reduced almost to zero.
~SSuch incidents happen sometimes,~T he said, adding there are no
Sotk residents among the gold hunters.
According to the Armenian Police, the gold hunters, commonly known
as bats, gain entrance to the mines by digging the soil.
~STo be frank, I have neither been there nor seen anything, but I
think those are abandoned mines,~T he said. ~SThey put their lives
at risk to earn a piece of bread.~T
The Police said there have been cases of gold hunting, adding that
the initiators are very often individuals.
The gold mines of Sotk, situated in the south-west of the Gegharkunik
region, were processed several centuries before our era.