Hong Konger ‘missing’ after crossing China bridge checkpoint

HONG KONG: Hong Kong's immigration department said on Sunday (Dec 15) that they have received reports a man went missing on a cross-border mega bridge to the gambling hub of Macau that currently hosts a Chinese mainland police checkpoint.

The disappearance first emerged on Saturday when the man's son told local media his father had texted to say he was being detained while passing through an artificial island manned by Chinese police on his way to the semi-autonomous city of Macau.



The man, surnamed Chan, was travelling by bus on Friday afternoon along the bridge and tunnel network linking Hong Kong, Macau and mainland city Zhuhai, his son said.

"His last message said 'I got arrested'," the son told Cable News.

The artificial island in the middle of the Pearl River Delta lies in Chinese mainland waters.

Mainland police set up a new checkpoint there last week with X-ray machines and facial recognition checks ahead of an upcoming visit to Macau by President Xi Jinping.



Hong Kong's immigration department told AFP it had "received a request for help" regarding a resident "who was suspected to have gone missing … when travelling to Macau via the Hong Kong-Zhuhai Macau Bridge".

The spokesman added that the department was reaching out to the city's trade office in Guangdong.

Security is being ramped up in Macau ahead of Xi's visit to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its handover from Portugal to China on Friday.

Last week the public security department of Guangdong province, which borders Macau, said it was setting up a checkpoint on the artificial island to "create a favourable social environment" for the anniversary celebrations.

Hong Kong's Security Bureau declined to comment on whether it was aware of the new checkpoint on the bridge.

AFP reporters passed through the checkpoint last Wednesday. It was manned by dozens of heavily armed SWAT officers and bus passengers had their luggage, faces and identity documents screened.

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