n employee at the United Kingdom’s consulate in Hong Kong hasn’t been seen or heard from in the past 12 days after making a business trip to the mainland.
Simon Cheng, a 28-year-old trade and investment officer at the consulate, went to Shenzhen on business on August 8. Before crossing the border back into his hometown, he messaged his girlfriend, asking her to pray for him.
He’s been uncontactable since then, reports HK01.
On Tuesday, the British Foreign Office expressed its concern over the situation, announcing that it had asked for explanations from officials in Hong Kong and Guangdong province.
Cheng is assumed to be under administrative detention, meaning that he can be held without charge for 15 days.
His apparent detention comes as Chinese officers have stepped up scrutiny at the Hong Kong border as the city’s protest movement moves into its 11th week. Individuals crossing the border have reported having their phones taken by officers who check their photos, videos, and messages for signs of involvement in the demonstrations.
The protests started, of course, over a controversial extradition bill which would have allowed suspects in Hong Kong to be taken to mainland China for trial. The bill has been suspended and declared dead — though not withdrawn — but, as Cheng’s case has shown, it was never totally essential for Beijing.
[Images via HK01]