China detains Hong Kong based UK consulate staffer
BEIJING: China on Wednesday said it has detained a staff member of the British Consulate in Hong Kong, according to media reports.
The detention came when Simon Cheng Man-kit, 28 — who works as a trade and investment officer at the Scottish Development International section of the British Consulate — was on a one-day business trip to the Shenzhen city of China on Aug. 8.
Simon had crossed in to mainland China through Lo Wu control point but failed to report back on Aug. 9.
“We are extremely concerned by reports that a member of our team has been detained returning to Hong Kong from Shenzhen. We are providing support to his family and seeking further information from authorities in Guangdong Province and Hong Kong,” the U.K.’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office said.
On Wednesday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry confirmed that Simon was held “for violating security management regulations,” without giving further details, according to South China Morning Post, a Hong Kong-based daily.
“I also want to stress that this worker is a Hong Kong citizen – not a British citizen – and he is Chinese. And this is entirely a matter of China’s internal affairs,” the daily quoted ministry spokesman Geng Shuang as saying.
Simon is a permanent resident of Hong Kong and has studied in the U.K. His case was first reported by his Taiwanese girlfriend with whom he was in contact while on the business trip.
Hong Kong is witnessing unprecedented protests since early June against local government’s move to legalize extradition to mainland China.
Hong Kong is an autonomous region of China under “One Country, Two System” formula since July 1, 1997, when British handed over its former colony to Beijing. (AA)