Claim over Simon Cheng, of Hong Kong consulate, often used by Bejing authorities to smear critics

Chinese state media has accused a worker at the British consulate in Hong Kong was detained in mainland China for visiting prostitutes – an accusation often used by the authorities to smear the reputation of government critics.

Simon Cheng, 28, a trade and investment officer for Scottish Development International, travelled to Shenzhen, a city that borders Hong Kong, on 8 August. He sent messages to his girlfriend as he was about to cross back over the border at about 10pm and has not been heard from since.

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