US News: Former U.K. Consulate Employee Says Chinese Secret Police Tortured Him - - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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US News Former U.K. Consulate Employee Says Chinese Secret Police Tortured Him

09:41  20 november  2019
09:41  20 november  2019 Source:   msn.com

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LONDON (Reuters) - A former employee of Britain’s Hong Kong consulate said Chinese secret police beat him, deprived him of sleep and chained him as they pressed him for British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab condemned China ’s treatment of Cheng, which he said "amounts to torture ".

A former worker with the British Consulate in Hong Kong said Chinese secret police tortured him for information about the leaders of the pro-democracy protest China ’s Foreign Ministry and the police in Shenzhen, where Cheng was detained, didn’t respond to a request for comment from the newspaper.

a person standing posing for the camera © Billy H.C. Kwok for The Wall Street Journal

HONG KONG—A former employee of Britain’s Hong Kong consulate claimed Chinese secret police beat him, deprived him of sleep and chained him spread-eagled as they pressed him for information about activists leading the pro-democracy protests that have swept the city since June.

In a series of interviews, Simon Cheng, a Hong Kong citizen who worked for the U.K. mission’s business-development team when he was detained, told The Wall Street Journal he also was questioned repeatedly about the role his interrogators presumed Britain was playing in fomenting the unrest.

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A former employee of the UK 's Hong Kong consulate has told the BBC that he was tortured in China and "The British Consulate instructed staff to collect information about the status of the protests," he says . And, as a result of his long interrogation at the hands of the Chinese secret police , the UK

(Bloomberg) -- China has detained an employee of the U . K . consulate in Hong Kong during a trip to the mainland, according to his girlfriend, in a 8 meeting in the adjacent city of Shenzhen. The Hong Kong police said it has launched a “missing person” investigation and was keeping “close contact”

U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab condemned China’s treatment of Mr. Cheng, which he said “amounts to torture.” The case threatens to strain relations between London and Beijing.

Mr. Raab told the Journal he had summoned the Chinese ambassador “to express our outrage,” adding: “I have made clear we expect the Chinese authorities to investigate and hold those responsible to account.”

Mr. Cheng was arrested in August amid widespread antigovernment demonstrations in Hong Kong, which have expanded in recent weeks as young activists armed with makeshift weapons have repeatedly clashed with police, who have intensified their response.

Fearing for his safety during 15 days in custody, Mr. Cheng said he disclosed the passwords for his phone and social-media accounts. He said he named two British consular officials he thought had military and intelligence backgrounds. He also gave details about some people involved in the protests. He said it was painful, and he tried to keep it vague.

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The employee , Simon Cheng, was detained while Hong Kong, a former British colony, is in the midst of its biggest political crisis since it returned to Chinese His disappearance had added to fears that the police were detaining people in mainland China in an effort to intimidate supporters of the protests.

An employee at the UK ’s consulate in Hong Kong has been detained by mainland Chinese Under the terms of the agreement by which the former British colony was returned to Chinese control in China has repeatedly warned Britain – the former colonial ruler of Hong Kong – against “interference”.

Activists gather outside the British Consulate-General building in Hong Kong on August 21 following reports that Simon Cheng, a Hong Kong consulate employee, had been detained by mainland Chinese authorities. © Getty Activists gather outside the British Consulate-General building in Hong Kong on August 21 following reports that Simon Cheng, a Hong Kong consulate employee, had been detained by mainland Chinese authorities. Mr. Cheng, 29 years old, said he felt he needed to speak out about his experience—despite warnings from Chinese police that he would face retribution if he did.

“For Hong Kongers,” whose protests were sparked by fears of Chinese encroachment on the territory’s independent judicial system, Mr. Cheng said, “it shows their fear was not ungrounded.”

China’s Foreign Ministry didn’t respond to a request for comment, nor did the police in Shenzhen, where he was detained. Chinese officials at the time said Mr. Cheng was detained and held in administrative detention for a prostitution-related offense, and that the arrest was an internal matter, as Mr. Cheng is a Hong Kong citizen.

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A former employee of the UK 's Hong Kong consulate has told the BBC that he was tortured in China and accused of inciting political unrest in the city.

This is a list of current secret police organizations. Fictional secret police organizations and historical secret police organizations are listed on their own respective pages.

“I deny the arbitrary accusations,” Mr. Cheng said, arguing the process was illegal and tainted by the use of threats, coercion and torture by the authorities.

Mr. Cheng’s account of his time in detention couldn’t be verified independently. But the treatment he said he experienced is similar to descriptions offered by others detained by China’s security services and documented by international human-rights groups. Patrick Poon, a researcher with Amnesty International, said forced confession is a common tactic China uses against activists.

Fear of China’s opaque legal system is at the heart of the protests in Hong Kong. The demonstrations started after the city’s leaders tried to push through a law allowing suspects to be extradited to China for trial.

Mr. Cheng was detained Aug. 8 by Chinese police as he was returning to Hong Kong after attending a conference in Shenzhen as part of his work for the consulate.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab condemned China's treatment of Mr Cheng. © Getty Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab condemned China's treatment of Mr Cheng. He said he was stopped as he was about to pass through immigration gates to officially re-enter Hong Kong inside a train station in Hong Kong territory.

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Chinese authorities forced a confession that the British started the Hong Kong protests by ‘ torturing a consulate worker with stress positions, sleep deprivation and beatings’. Simon Cheng was a general staffer for the British consulate in Hong Kong.

HONG KONG — An employee of Britain’s consulate in Hong Kong who had been detained in mainland China for weeks has been released, the police said on Saturday. The employee , Simon Cheng, disappeared on Aug.

Chinese authorities took Mr. Cheng by train back across the border into China. He said he was handed over to plainclothes police in the mainland city of Shenzhen.

It isn’t known why Mr. Cheng was on Chinese officials’ radar.

For his job at the consulate, he said, he kept tabs on the protests and made contacts with participants and leaders, as British diplomats tried to figure out where the movement was headed. In his private life, he was a supporter of the demonstrations and attended peaceful rallies several times.

He was also friends with a mainland Chinese citizen who was arrested by Hong Kong police during a protest who then notified mainland authorities.

When Mr. Cheng was detained, he was carrying money from the man’s family to help with his legal bills. People familiar with the matter identified the friend as Wen Tao, a bookseller from Guangzhou, who returned to the mainland a few days later and has been arrested.

The first round of interrogation started at midnight and went into the early morning, he said, adding that plainclothes officers asked him questions about the U.K.’s role in the protests, as well as participation by him and his friends.

Mr. Raab, the U.K. foreign secretary, rejected the suggestion that the U.K. had funded the Hong Kong protests and called for a political dialogue to resolve the crisis.

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Night had fallen as Simon Cheng Man-kit, a UK consulate employee , rushed to catch a train home to Hong Kong. He’d spent the day on a business trip in southern China and was looking forward to an evening off.

(Bloomberg) — The U . K . said it was “extremely concerned” by reports that a Hong Kong consulate The statement came after news site HK01 reported that the U . K . consular employee , Simon Cheng Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a regular briefing Tuesday in Beijing that he

Gallery: Hong Kong protests in pictures (Photos)

After a break, the uniformed police took over, he said. They told him he had been reported for soliciting prostitution during a massage he had after his business meetings. He was asked if he wanted to plead guilty, he said. Otherwise, they said, the other group of interrogators would look into more severe charges.

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Former detainees have described to Reuters being tortured during interrogation at the camps, living in crowded cells and being subjected to a brutal daily “The ( Chinese ) Communist Party is using the security forces for mass imprisonment of Chinese Muslims in concentration camps,” Schriver told a

“I had no choice but to say yes,” Mr. Cheng said.

He was sent to the Luohu District Detention Center in Shenzhen. Almost immediately, he said, he was transferred to solitary confinement.

During one early interrogation, the secret police pulled his face toward his iPhone to activate the facial-recognition feature and unlock the device, he said. Not wanting to get hurt, he said he gave up his passwords.

On the fourth day, Mr. Cheng said, he was handcuffed and shackled, blindfolded and hooded, and taken from the detention center by car. He said he was taken to a new place and chained to a board, hands and feet apart in an X shape.

Mr. Cheng said he pleaded not to be tortured, saying he would tell his interrogators whatever they wanted to know.

His captors replied that he would just be receiving some “training,” he said. The training included being forced to squat for hours, followed by pokes in the knee with what he thought was a sharpened baton, he said.

Thousands of protesters carrying the British flag march near the harbour of Hong Kong. © AP Thousands of protesters carrying the British flag march near the harbour of Hong Kong.

He was told to say “master” any time he wanted to speak and was slapped in the face if he forgot, he said. At other times, he said, he was forced to stand perfectly still. If he moved or dozed off, he had to sing the Chinese national anthem, he said.

One of the interrogators berated him in perfect Cantonese, saying he deserved to be treated “worse than s***” because he monitored the Chinese for the British, he said. Another, in Mandarin, said he deserved no human rights.

They pushed for intelligence, he said. Did any of his consulate colleagues have an intelligence or military background? He named one man he thought might have. What was the floor plan of the consulate and the design of the staff badge? He gave a description.

The police pressed him to confess that the British government helped instigate the protests, supplying money and equipment, and to say he personally organized some of the violent events and paid mainlanders to participate, he said. Mr. Cheng said he denied the allegations, sensing their severity.

Officers ordered him to tell the detention center’s medical staff that bruises on his body had come from a fall, he said. A medical officer recorded the cause. Then for three days, he was left alone, he said. He meditated and prayed in his cell, and sang Cantonese pop songs to keep himself calm.

At the beginning of the second week, he said, he could see about 10 young men wearing orange jail vests and handcuffs. A voice shouted, “Raise your hands high. Didn’t you do that when waving flags during the protest?”

He said he walked past a young woman. His interrogator called her scum and told him she was caught after protesting in Hong Kong, he said.

Interrogators called Mr. Cheng a mastermind behind the protests, he said. One swore to keep him in jail indefinitely, he said. “I started to think about suicide,” Mr. Cheng said.

Mr. Cheng didn’t know it at the time, but his girlfriend had just then gone public—13 days into his detention—after a lawyer hired by the family failed to find him. The U.K.’s Foreign Office issued a statement saying it was extremely concerned.

Inside the detention center, a plainclothes officer asked him if he wanted to contact his family or a lawyer. When Mr. Cheng said he did, the officer handed him a document assigning him two years of detention, the maximum for prostitution-related offenses, he said.

The officer also held another document assigning him detention of just 15 days. Mr. Cheng got the message and dropped his request, he said. He then filmed a video saying he didn’t want to contact his family because he was too ashamed.

Holding a nameplate, Mr. Cheng was filmed apologizing for paying for sex, he said. He was also filmed reading two letters of remorse, one for prostitution, the other for betraying the motherland. Afterward, the officer told him he would be released in a few days.

The interrogation during his final 48 hours in detention went nearly nonstop, with many repeated questions, he said. The secret police printed out a document taken from his email that listed consular staff involved in gathering information about the protests and asked if any had a military or intelligence background, he said. He pointed out another man.

Chinese police signed into his Telegram app—which he had deleted just before his arrest at the rail station—and ordered him to list the members of an anonymous protester group he had joined, he said. He complied and described the appearance of protesters he had met, including a group leader. Hours later, an interrogator showed him a photo on a phone, he said. He immediately recognized it was the person.

At dawn on Aug. 24, the detention center returned his glasses, phone and money and escorted him to the Shenzhen border, filming him along the way. He said he crossed a bridge that connects Shenzhen to Hong Kong on his own, relieved but uncertain if he would be safe. A few close friends picked him up. They huddled in a hotel room and listened as he recounted his experience. One advised him to keep quiet and not worry about the prostitution charge.

“No Hong Kongers would believe it,” said the person, a schoolmate who had known Mr. Cheng for more than a decade. “I advised him not to reveal the truth, because it would put him in danger.”

Mr. Cheng briefed the consulate on what had happened. A few days later, he flew out of town and later made a deal with the U.K. government to end his service. He said he is seeking asylum in countries he declined to identify. He said he still feels vulnerable.

“I will no longer be able to live a normal life,” he said. “I cannot pretend it didn’t happen.”

Write to Wenxin Fan at Wenxin.Fan@wsj.com

Australia probes 'deeply disturbing' allegations of Chinese political interference .
Australia probes 'deeply disturbing' allegations of Chinese political interferenceThe Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) said it had launched an investigation before the alleged plot was reported by Australia's "60 Minutes" programme and affiliated newspapers on Sunday.

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