UK 'Very Concerned' After Envoy Goes Missing in China

Hong Kong resident did not return from business trip
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 20, 2019 12:21 AM CDT
UK 'Very Concerned' About Employee Missing in China
In this Sunday, July 7, 2019, photo, thousands of protesters carrying the British flag march near the harbor of Hong Kong.   (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

The British foreign ministry said it is "extremely concerned" about an employee of its consulate in Hong Kong who has been missing since crossing into China on a business trip. A statement from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said it is seeking information from Hong Kong and Guangdong province about the fate of the employee, who was detained while crossing from the Chinese city of Shenzhen into Hong Kong, the AP reports. Local media reports identified him as Simon Cheng Man-kit, a trade and investment officer at the Scottish Development International section of the consulate. The reports say he attended a business event in Shenzhen on Aug. 8 but never returned to Hong Kong despite plans to do so the same day.

"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," said the statement, which was forwarded by the British Embassy in Beijing. It is unclear whether the man possessed a diplomatic passport, but the seizure of consular staff of any status or rank is highly unusual. Asked about the case at a daily briefing on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang responded, "I'm not aware of that." Cheng's girlfriend says he texted her at 10:37pm on the day he disappeared, saying he was about to cross the border and asking her to pray for him, the Hong Kong Free Press reports.

(More Hong Kong stories.)

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