The British consulate in Hong Kong has not named the detained man but a missing persons case was opened on August 9 Photo: AFP
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China says it has detained employee of Britain's consulate in Hong Kong

22 Comments
By Ryan McMORROW

An employee of Britain's consulate in Hong Kong who went missing earlier this month is being held in China, Beijing confirmed Wednesday.

The incident comes as relations between Britain and China have become strained over what Beijing calls London's "interference" in pro-democracy protests that have wracked Hong Kong for three months.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a regular press briefing the detained man had been "placed in administrative detention for 15 days as punishment" by Shenzhen police for breaking a public security law.

Geng said the employee was from Hong Kong and therefore the issue was an internal matter.

"Let me clarify, this employee is a Hong Kong citizen, he's not a UK citizen, which is also saying he's a Chinese person," Geng said.

The man, named by his family as Simon Cheng, travelled to Shenzhen, a megacity on the China-Hong Kong border, for a one-day business meeting on August 8.

That night, Cheng returned via high-speed train and sent messages to his girlfriend as he was about to go through customs.

"We lost contact with him since then," the family said in a Facebook post.

Geng said the employee had violated the Public Security Administration Punishments Law -- a law with broad scope aimed at "maintaining public order in society" and "safeguarding public security", as well as making sure police and security forces act within the law.

The ongoing protests have raised fears of a Chinese crackdown.

The unrest was initially triggered by a controversial law that would allow extradition to the mainland, but has since broadened into a call for wider democratic reforms.

Beijing has repeatedly warned Britain -- the former colonial ruler of Hong Kong -- against any "interference" in the protests, which erupted 11 weeks ago and have seen millions of people hit the streets calling for democratic reforms.

"Recently the UK has made many erroneous remarks about Hong Kong," Geng said at the press briefing Wednesday.

"We once again urge the British side to stop gesticulating and fanning flames on the Hong Kong issue."

With Beijing attempting to shape the narrative of the unrest in Hong Kong, Chinese authorities have increased their inspections at the Shenzhen border, including checking the phones and devices of some passengers for photos of the protests.

The mainland metropolis of Shenzhen sits behind China's "Great Firewall" --which restricts access to news and information -- while Hong Kong enjoys liberties unseen on the mainland.

China promised to respect the freedoms in the semi-autonomous territory after its handover from Britain in 1997, including freedom of speech, unfettered access to the internet and an independent judiciary.

© 2019 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

22 Comments
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Typical terror tactics from an oppressive dictatorship. They terrorised the staff of Cathay Pacific and now they are seeking to terrorise any one working for a foreign embassy or consulate. Secret arrest and imprissonment without trial, what else would you expect from the CCP gangsters who run the unfortunate country.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

It seems pretty obvious to the rest of the world why the people are protesting. The Chinese government isn't really helping their cause!

9 ( +11 / -2 )

The crucial message that he sent to his girlfriend was “Pray for me.”

Without this information in the article the drama of this news pales somewhat. In fact we should ask why it was removed, and by whom.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

China has lost it and no one believes it can be trusted. China would be better off to cut HK loose

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Typical communist tactic - kidnap foreigners based on some arbitrary laws that are probably made up on-the-fly. Think it will change, think again. You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. A tiger never changes his stripes.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

China cannot be trusted. Period!

3 ( +7 / -4 )

The only ‘good’ thing about this news, on the surface of it, is that China has actually admitted holding him.

Relenting on the typical ‘spirit them away in blanket silence’.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

> sf2k

Today 09:08 pm JST

China has lost it and no one believes it can be trusted. China would be better off to cut HK loose

It's an act of cowardice and it shows why China's regime is not fit to rule HK. It's a bully tactic and it is a rhetoric of their failure. And it's visible for all to see - in living color. Take it out on a foreigner, yeah!

BelrickToday 10:01 pm JSTChina cannot be trusted. Period!

The CCP's true colors are shining thru, and they ain't beautiful like a rainbow. Uh-huh.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

CORRECTION

Should be 'uh-uh'.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

There are no special people before laws.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

This is typical of China.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

There are no special people before laws.

Right. In China, everyone is guilty. Right Akie?

Of course, he may have done something wrong. We don't have many details. I understand that being "placed in administrative detention" is usually for minor offenses. Perhaps he was drunk and disorderly (he does have a Scottish connection after all). But it would have helped if China had given some reason for his detention. Surely it can't take that long to make up a good story.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@akie

There are no special people before laws.

In civilized countries, when someone is arrested, their friends and family don't have to put out a missing persons report because no one knows what happened to the person!

China is barbaric and this is exactly why Honk Kong citizens are terrified and protesting.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

albaleo, in China everyone is equally important.

Reminds me of a famous quote...

“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Liars always forget they are lying.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

There are no special people before laws

No one is above the law but there is due process of law.

There are procedures that must be followed to protect the rights of the accused. Not going through due process is considered a violation of the civil liberties of the accused.

China unfortunately is known for violating civil liberties. It’s not only China, so no one is picking on China in particular. If any country violates or is on the verge of violating civil liberties, the criticism is legitimate. Carlos Ghosn’s case would be a case in point.

Of course, one could say there are no civil liberties in China; therefore no violations. Sure but not having civil liberties isn’t something to brag about.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

So, he was a Hong Kong citizen acting legally by expressing his right to protest in Hong Kong.

Having photos of the biggest new story in the region when crossing BACK from the mainland and he is picked up and transported almost 2000 km to Beijing.

CCP is unhappy that a Hong Kong employer doesn't fire people for taking photos of news stories?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Liars always forget they are lying.

So how do you keep track?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So how do you keep track?

How does your boy Donny keep track?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

How does your boy Donny keep track?

So two questions for you.

First, how's he 'my boy'? Because I agree with some of his policies and don't drool at the chance to make fun of him? I still think he's a buffoon and have said as much here.

Second, and more importantly, how the heck do you manage to squeeze Trump into this completely unrelated topic? It's stuff like this that gives credence to the claim that Trump haters can't stop talking about him.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm just wondering why China hasn't gone all out against the protesters. Maybe the protests are saving the Chinese business interests.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm just wondering why China hasn't gone all out against the protesters.

Xi is trying his best not to create another Tiananmen Square, but it's only a matter of time.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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