A British consulate employee in Hong Kong who was missing since Aug. 8 has been detained on "solicitation of prostitution” charges in mainland China, a state-run tabloid reported.

According to Global Times, Simon Cheng, the Hong Kong citizen who worked for the British consulate, was detained by Chinese officials for 15 days for “solicitation of prostitution”. He was detained in Shenzen, a border city that connects the mainland to Hong Kong, for violating Article 66 of the law on administrative penalties for public security.

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs had earlier confirmed Cheng's detention, but it didn't specify precisely under what charges the Hong Kong man was kept in detention. According to the charges filed, Cheng can be held in custody for no more than 15 days and may also incur a fine of 5,000 yuan.

Cheng’s girlfriend, Annie Li, who shared screenshots of Cheng’s last text message before he was detained on social media, did not make any comment on the charges. Cheng’s friends, however, fear he was detained because of his links to the pro-democracy protests.

Local residents say patrolling at the border has increased, with everyone's phones and belongings being scrutinized to find any proofs linking them to the Hong Kong protests.

"We continue to urgently seek further information about Simon's case. Neither we nor Simon's family have been able to speak to him since his detention. That is our priority and we continue to raise Simon's case repeatedly in China, Hong Kong and London and have sought to make contact with Simon himself," a British Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson told CNN after the new developments regarding the case had come to light.

Cheng was detained while he was returning to the city from mainland China after a one-day business trip. The train on which he was travelling passed through the West Kowloon Station checkpoint, shared by both China and Hong Kong.

Simon Cheng
Simon Cheng dissapeared in the night of August 8 when he was about to cross the Shenzen Hong Kong border. Photo: Facebook Photo/釋放Simon Cheng