September 18, 2019
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Hong Kong activists demand release of arrested UK consulate worker

Hong Kong, Aug 21 (efe-epa).- A group of Hong Kong citizens demonstrated outside the British Consulate Wednesday afternoon urging the British government to take action over the arrest of a local consulate employee by Chinese authorities.

The rally came just an hour after China's foreign ministry confirmed that Simon Cheng Man-kit, a trade and investment officer at the Scottish Development International section of the British consulate in Hong Kong, has been detained in Shenzhen for alleged public order violations.

The small group of petitioners gathered outside the British Consulate complex in Admiralty Wednesday afternoon.

They put up posters on the wall of the building and chanted slogans including "Save Simon now, delay no more!".

Activist Max Chung Kin-ping, organiser of the petition, urged British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to give top priority to seek the release of Cheng.

"Mr Boris Johnson, act now or never," Chung said, reading a statement to the press.

"We pray for Simon. Please, please help Simon, and us Hongkongers."

On 8 August, Cheng made a business trip to the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, a stone's throw from Hong Kong, but he did not return to work the next day.

His family later confirmed his disappearance on Facebook.

At a news briefing in Beijing Wednesday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang confirmed Cheng has been detained for 15 days by police in Shenzhen for violating public "security management rules" but he did not elaborate. EFE-EPA

sl/ch

Related content

China confirms arrest of Hong Kong British consulate worker

Beijing, Aug 21 (efe-epa).- China on Wednesday confirmed the arrest of an employee of the British Consulate-General Hong Kong for allegedly violating public security regulations in the country.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang did not provide more details about the "administrative detention" of Simon Cheng, who works in the Scottish Development International section of the consulate.

"This is not a diplomatic question. This man violated the public security management regulations of the People's Republic of China" Geng said.

No further information on where Cheng is being held has been issued.

On Tuesday a spokesperson of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office raised the alarm over the fact Cheng had been missing since 8 August.

He allegedly went missing when returning to Hong Kong from the neighboring Chinese city of Shenzhen on a high-speed train.

The Chinese spokesperson emphasized that Cheng was a "Hong Kong citizen; not a British citizen but a Chinese one," and called the matter "entirely China's internal affair.

"We urge to the UK to stop interfering in our internal affairs and doing random criticism," he said.

Chinese law allows suspects to be put in administrative detention for up to 15 days, which is often used against Beijing dissidents.

Although the reasons behind Cheng's arrest are not clear, it comes at a time when Beijing has lashed out against foreign governments including the UK, alleging interference in its internal matters, especially with regards to the recurring mass protests in Hong Kong, a former British colony, in recent weeks. EFE-EPA

jco/ia/ch

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