British Consulate-General employee Simon Cheng has returned to Hong Kong after two weeks of administrative detention in mainland China.
A Facebook page run by Cheng’s family confirmed the news and thanked everyone for their support: “Simon and his family wish to have some time to rest and recover, and will not take any interview for the moment.” The UK has welcomed his release.
The 28-year-old, a trade and investment officer at the Scottish Development International section of the consulate, attended a business event in Shenzhen on August 8 via the Lo Wu control point. But he never returned to the city despite a prior plan to come back the same day on the Express Rail Link, his girlfriend said.
The family’s message on Saturday morning urged media and friends to give them time and space, adding that they will explain more later.
According to state-backed tabloid Global Times, Shenzhen police confirmed this release.
British Consulate General employee Simon Cheng was released on Saturday upon completing his term of detention: Shenzhen’s Luohu police https://t.co/WySJ2qpRM8
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) August 24, 2019
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office told HKFP that they will continue to support Cheng’s family: “We welcome the release of Simon Cheng and are delighted that he can be reunited with his family. We will continue to provide support to them… Simon and his family have requested privacy and we would be grateful if this is respected.”
Public security law
On Wednesday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Cheng had been “placed in administrative detention for 15 days as punishment” by Shenzhen police for breaking a public security law.
However, Global Times claimed that his detention was due to visiting a prostitute – a claim which his family denied.
Mainland authorities have jurisdiction in parts of the West Kowloon terminal following the implementation of the co-location agreement in 2018.
Cheng is a Hong Kong permanent resident who had studied at National Taiwan University in Taiwan and London School of Economics in the UK before returning to the city. It is unclear if Cheng holds a diplomatic passport and what documents he used to enter China.
HKFP has reached out to the UK consulate for comment.
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