UK embassy says Hong Kong staffer detained in China

An worker of the British consulate in Hong Kong has been detained in mainland China, threatening to set off a diplomatic rift between London and Beijing.

Cheng Man Kit, a Hong Kong resident who labored as a commerce and funding officer on the British Consulate General within the metropolis, was detained on August eight in opposition to a backdrop of protests which have plunged the territory into its worst political disaster in a long time.

The detention of Mr Cheng, who labored for Scottish Development International, Scotland’s inward funding company, is believed to be associated to his presence on the protests, in keeping with folks aware of the matter.

Mr Cheng’s girlfriend, who would establish herself solely as Ms Li, denied that he participated within the demonstrations and stated there was “no purpose” for his detention.

The UK and China have exchanged sharp phrases over the escalating protests in Hong Kong. Dominic Raab, the UK’s overseas secretary, referred to as Hong Kong chief government Carrie Lam on August 9 to ask for an unbiased investigation into the current occasions within the metropolis. Beijing hit again, telling the UK to cease interfering in an inner matter.

“It is just unsuitable for the British authorities to immediately name Hong Kong’s chief government to exert strain,” a spokeswoman for China’s overseas ministry stated on the time.

Ms Li stated Mr Cheng was stopped at West Kowloon station, a transport hub within the coronary heart of Hong Kong that connects the territory to mainland China by high-speed rail, after attending a expertise convention in Shenzhen. The station contains an immigration checkpoint space that’s legally mainland Chinese territory, the primary piece of land to be provided that designation within the metropolis.

Ms Li stated her final contact with Mr Cheng was a message “pray for me” simply earlier than he tried to go by immigration on the station.

Mr Cheng has a house return allow, a doc given to most Hong Kongers that permits them to journey to mainland China. Ms Li stated he normally used the allow when crossing the border.

He additionally has a British National (Overseas) passport, a doc issued to Hong Kong residents born earlier than the handover of the territory from UK to Chinese sovereignty in 1997, in keeping with folks aware of the matter. The designation doesn’t grant them British citizenship. Mr Cheng doesn’t have a diplomatic passport, the folks added.

Ms Li stated Mr Cheng had been positioned below “administrative detention”, which permits people to be held with out being charged.

The British embassy in Beijing confirmed that Mr Cheng had been detained.

The detention comes as the town has been gripped by weeks of protests and political unrest sparked by the Hong Kong authorities’s try and go an extradition invoice that will have allowed prison suspects to be despatched to China for the primary time.

As the protest motion has expanded, Beijing has threatened to intervene immediately. This has included doubtlessly sending in Chinese safety forces that aren’t legally allowed to function on Hong Kong’s streets with out an invite from the native authorities.

Michael Tien, a pro-Beijing lawmaker in Hong Kong, stated on Tuesday {that a} demonstration deliberate for August 31 would immediate Beijing to extend the strain on Ms Lam to weaken assist for the protesters or face a potential intervention by mainland China. He added that Beijing wished to make sure there have been no demonstrations throughout National Day celebrations on October 1. “Time shouldn’t be on our aspect. You are speaking concerning the 70th birthday of contemporary China,” he instructed the Financial Times.

Mike Pence, the US vice-president, on Monday echoed feedback by Donald Trump that it could be onerous to make progress on talks to finish the US-China commerce warfare if “something violent” occurred in Hong Kong.

The US Department of State additionally announced on Monday that Mike Pompeo, US secretary of state, would go to Canada for discussions that would come with the discharge of two Canadian citizens “arbitrarily detained by China”.

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