BEIJING – China confirmed on Wednesday the arrest of an employee of the British Consulate-General Hong Kong for allegedly violating public security regulations in the country.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang did not provide more details about the “administrative detention” of Simon Cheng, who works in the Scottish Development International section of the consulate.
“This is not a diplomatic question. This man violated the public security management regulations of the People’s Republic of China,” Geng said.
No further information on where Cheng is being held has been issued.
On Tuesday a spokesperson of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office raised the alarm over the fact Cheng had been missing since Aug. 8.
He allegedly went missing when returning to Hong Kong from the neighboring Chinese city of Shenzhen on a high-speed train.
The Chinese spokesperson emphasized that Cheng was a “Hong Kong citizen; not a British citizen but a Chinese one,” and called the matter “entirely China’s internal affair.
“We urge to the UK to stop interfering in our internal affairs and doing random criticism,” he said.
Chinese law allows suspects to be put in administrative detention for up to 15 days, which is often used against Beijing dissidents.
Although the reasons behind Cheng’s arrest are not clear, it comes at a time when Beijing has lashed out against foreign governments including the UK, alleging interference in its internal matters, especially with regards to the recurring mass protests in Hong Kong, a former British colony, in recent weeks.