Family of detained UK consulate worker rejects 'made-up' report

Beijing: The family of a staffer at the UK consulate in Hong Kong have rejected a "made-up" report by Chinese state media that he was detained in the mainland for visiting prostitutes. Simon Cheng disappeared after visiting the city of Shenzhen from the semi-autonomous city on August 8, and the Foreign Office in London said both British officials and relatives have been unable to speak to him since. The Global Times, a tabloid state-run newspaper, said he had been detained for "soliciting prostitutes", citing police in Shenzhen, which lies on the China-Hong Kong border. But a Facebook page run by Cheng's family dismissed the report.

"This is a made-up crime of soliciting prostitution, everyone should see it's a joke," the comment said. Beijing confirmed on Wednesday that an employee of the British consulate had been "placed in administrative detention for 15 days as punishment" by police in Shenzhen for breaking a public security law. The foreign ministry said he was "a Hong Kong citizen, he's not a UK citizen, which is also saying he's a Chinese person". According to the Global Times, Cheng could be detained for 15 days and fined up to 5,000 yuan ($700) for the alleged crime.

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