'Hong Kong' disappears' after crossing China's bridge checkpoint

HONG KONG: Hong Kong's immigration department said on Sunday that it had received reports that a man had been lost in a cross-border mega bridge at a gambling spot in Macau that is currently hosting a Chinese police checkpoint.

The disappearance first surfaced on Saturday when the son told local media that his father had been texting to say he was being detained while passing an artificial island managed by Chinese police into a semi-autonomous city of Macau.

The man, named Chan, was traveling by bus Friday afternoon with the bridge and tunnel network connecting Hong Kong, Macau and the mainland city Zhuhai, his son said.

His last message was saying 'I have been arrested', the son told Cable News.

The artificial island is at the heart of China's major 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 the President Xi Jinping .

The Hong Kong immigration department has told AFP that it has received a request for help regarding a resident who was allegedly missing ... while traveling to Macau via the Hong Kong-Zhuhai Macau Bridge.

The spokesman added that the department is reaching the city trading office in Guangdong.

Security is ramping up in Macau ahead of Xi's visit to celebrate its 20th anniversary delivery from Portugal to China on Friday.

Last week the Guangdong provincial department, bordering Macau, said it was setting up a check on the artificial island to create a favorable social environment for the festival celebration.

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

AFP journalists passed through the checkpoint on Wednesday. It is managed by dozens of armed SWAT officers and bus passengers who have screened their luggage, faces and identity documents.

Macau's festivities came as Hong Kong caught six months of massive and often violent pro-democracy protests as city chafes under Beijing's rule. The protests were initially triggered by a neglected plan to allow extraditions on the mainland where the courts were bullied and controlled by the Communist Party.

The disappearance of 2015 in the custody of the mainland by five booksellers who published happy talks about Chinese leaders also sparked resentment.

The bridge connecting Hong Kong, Macau and Zhuhai is a marvel of engineers but some have criticized the unspecified costs running into the tens of billions.

A newly opened high-speed rail link to the mainland has also been controversial since part of the terminus in central Hong Kong's Kowloon district is governed by Mainland China law.