The tension between China and Hong Kong have not died down.

Now it may extend to other countries after China admitted it detained an employee from the British consulate in Hong Kong.

Media outlets reported early Tuesday morning the UK had concerns about Simon Cheng Man-kit, 28, who works at the consulate in Hong Kong with the Scottish Development International section.

Cheng’s detainment came at a time when China became “more vocal in blaming foreign nations, including Britain and the United States, for the monthlong protests” in Hong Kong.

Officials reported him missing after he did not return to Hong Kong from China on August 8. From Fox News:

Simon Cheng Man-kit, 28, was reportedly detained after attempting to return to Hong Kong after he was last seen attending a business event in Shenzhen on Aug. 8, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said in a statement.

It was unclear if Cheng, who worked as a trade and investment officer with the Scottish Development International section of the consulate, had a diplomatic passport, but detaining any person or staff member from a foreign consulate is considered extremely unorthodox.

“We are extremely concerned by reports that a member of our team has been detained returning to Hong Kong from Shenzhen,” said the statement, which was forwarded by the British Embassy in Beijing. “We are providing support to his family and seeking further information from authorities in Guangdong Province and Hong Kong.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang feigned ignorance over Cheng’s disappearance. He changed his tune on Wednesday morning. From The New York Times:

Geng Shuang, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Mr. Cheng was being held under a 15-day administrative detention, without citing specifics of his alleged wrongdoing.

Mr. Cheng, 28, traveled to Shenzhen, a mainland city that borders Hong Kong, to attend a business conference on Aug. 8, but did not return as expected.

“Passing through,” he wrote to his girlfriend on WeChat, the Chinese messaging app, as he was making his way back to Hong Kong that night on a high-speed train. “Pray for me.”

Supposedly Cheng “violated a law on public order.” This law has broad variations of wrongdoing, “including fighting, damaging property and disturbing order in public places.”

Cheng was born in Hong Kong but has a British national overseas passport. This item “does not confer citizenship but does allow for consular representation outside China.”

Geng said since Cheng is not a British citizen no British diplomats can visit him.

No one knows if Cheng has participated in the protests in Hong Kong.

Michael Mo, an organizer of a protest outside the British Consulate, said Cheng’s arrest shows that “[N]o one is safe” and “everybody can be grabbbed” at the new train station.

 
 
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