HONG KONG, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government issued a statement Friday night on safe return of Kai Fung No. 2 vessel and persons on board.
According to the statement, "Officers of the Immigration Department and the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (Tokyo) arrived in Naha, Okinawa, Thursday 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, according to the statement.
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 Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong (OCMFA) to provide all feasible assistance in order to ensure the safe return of all persons concerned and the vessel, the statement said.
Seven of the 14 Chinese nationals who were illegally detained by Japan when going to the Diaoyu Islands Wednesday had returned to Hong Kong by plane at around 7:50 p.m. local time Friday.