• Foreign ministry says Simon Cheng held over violation of public security regulations
  • Comes a day after Britain said it was “extremely concerned” by reports that Cheng had been detained
British consulate trade officer Simon Cheng Man-kit has been ordered to serve 15 days of administrative detention on the mainland. Photo: Handout

The Chinese foreign ministry confirmed on Wednesday that a British consulate worker has been detained in Shenzhen.

Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Simon Cheng Man-kit, a trade and investment officer at the Scottish Development International section of the British consulate in Hong Kong, was detained over a violation of the law.

"My understanding … about this person is that Shenzhen police ordered him to serve 15 days of administrative detention for violating public security management regulations," Geng said, without giving further details.

"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 an internal matter of China."

The confirmation came a day after Britain said it was "extremely concerned" by reports that Cheng had been detained.

British consulate worker in Hong Kong held in mainland China for 10 days, girlfriend says

Cheng's family confirmed his disappearance in a Facebook post on Tuesday night, saying he went from Hong Kong to Shenzhen on the morning of August 8 for a business trip.

His girlfriend, a 27-year-old Taiwanese woman working in Hong Kong who asked to be identified only by her surname Li, said Cheng disappeared while returning home through the immigration checkpoint at the West Kowloon terminus of the cross-border high-speed railway linking Hong Kong to Shenzhen and Guangzhou.

Hong Kong police confirmed on Tuesday that they received a missing-person report about Cheng on August 9, but had not received any notification from mainland authorities. A notification mechanism between Hong Kong and the mainland does not cover administrative detention.

Born in Hong Kong and educated in Taiwan and London, Cheng has been in his present position at the British consulate in Hong Kong since late 2017.

Asked if Cheng had taken part in the anti-government protests sweeping Hong Kong, Li said they had not done so together, but she was not sure whether he had done so on his own.

More to follow …

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