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HKSAR Government's statement on safe return of Kai Fung No.2 and persons on board

     Regarding the safe return of the Hong Kong vessel Kai Fung No.2 and persons on board the vessel, a spokesperson for the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) today (August 17) expressed sincere gratitude to the Central Government, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong (OCMFA) and the Chinese Embassy in Japan for their grave concern over the incident, mounting solemn negotiations with the Government of Japan and urging for the immediate and unconditional release of the persons and vessel concerned and protection of their personal safety and property. Seven persons flew back to Hong Kong this afternoon.

     The spokesperson said, "Officers of the Immigration Department and the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (Tokyo) arrived in Naha, Okinawa, yesterday to work with the Chinese Embassy in Japan to render assistance to the persons concerned. Under the arrangements made by the embassy, HKSAR officers visited the persons concerned and learnt that their physical and mental condition was good. The HKSAR officers have, according to the requests of individual persons, rendered assistance including providing them with necessities and helping them contact their families."

     After negotiations between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Japanese side, Kai Fung No.2 has been returned and it is now berthed at Ishigaki Island, Japan. Seven members on board will set off to return later. The return trip to Hong Kong would take about two to three days. Officers from the Chinese Embassy in Japan and the HKSAR Government have gone to Ishigaki Island to offer assistance to the crew members. The Chinese Government will send a vessel to escort Kai Fung No.2 on its return trip.

     The HKSAR Government will closely monitor the situation and work with the OCMFA to provide all feasible assistance in order to ensure the safe return of all persons concerned and the vessel.

Ends/Friday, August 17, 2012
Issued at HKT 20:43


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