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Last Updated: Monday, 29 December, 2003, 18:19 GMT
Briton held in China over debt
Andrew Hollingworth and his fiancee Georgina
Andrew Hollingworth: Held over Chinese debt
A Briton is being forced to stay in China against his will, after being accused of failing to pay a $300,000 (168,852) debt, according to the Foreign Office.

Andrew Hollingworth, 31, of Droylsden, Greater Manchester, has been accused of owing the money to a Chinese supplier.

The firm has taken out an injunction under Chinese law, which means Mr Hollingworth must stay in Beijing until the matter is resolved.

Mr Hollingworth, who buys chemicals from China and sells them on to other parts of the world, had visited a supplier in the Beijing area in November.

He claims he owes the Chinese firm a much smaller amount, which was being paid back.

Andrew has been wholly wrongly detained in China by a corrupt system - it is nonsense
Andrew Hollingworth's father, Graham
Mr Hollingworth also claims he was assaulted by a member of the company's security staff and that his life was threatened.

His father, Graham, claimed the firm was actually saying it was owed $8m.

He added that his son had been initially imprisoned in a factory before being moved to Beijing by Chinese authorities.

He said: "Andrew went to China on business, but they tore up his agreement and he was incarcerated in a factory.

"His life was threatened. They threatened to maim him.

'Absolutely horrendous'

"He has been to hospital twice over there because he has broken down and is devastated by the whole thing.

"I went out there because someone had to give support and comfort to Andrew.

"He was like a little boy of five. It was absolutely horrendous."

He added: "Andrew has been wholly wrongly detained in China by a corrupt system. It is nonsense."

The Foreign Office said it was monitoring the situation, but could not intervene in another country's legal process.

It added Mr Hollingworth had employed a local lawyer to fight the injunction which was preventing him from leaving the country.

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