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British tourist arrested in China calls for apology

Police building in Ordos, Inner Mongolia
Image caption The tour group was arrested at Ordos airport in Inner Mongolia

A British man arrested along with 19 other tourists in Inner Mongolia has criticised Chinese authorities for a "serious error of judgement".

Hoosain Jacobs, 74, and his wife Tahira, 68, from west London, were part of the group detained while on a tour of the sites of ancient China.

Police in the city of Ordos have declined to comment on the case but no charges were brought.

Mr Jacobs said officials there should apologise for their behaviour.

Following the couple's return to the UK on Saturday, a spokesman for the Jacobs family suggested the arrests had resulted from Chinese officials mistaking a documentary watched by the tour group for a terrorist video.

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Media captionChinese authorities have remained tight-lipped on the reasons for the arrests, as Carrie Gracie reports

In a statement on Sunday, Mr Jacobs said: "I can understand that officials in Ordos wish to repair their reputation in relation to their treatment of tourists visiting their country.

"However, it would have been better if they had apologised instead for the serious error of judgement on their side.

"It is completely wrong of them to ascribe any sort of illicit activities to myself, or indeed to anyone else in this peaceful tour group."

Mr Jacobs "categorically" denied that any of the group was "charged for anything of any kind".

The tour group members were arrested by police on 10 July at the airport in Ordos.

They are said to have watched a film about the 13th Century Mongol warlord Genghis Khan to help them get the most out of the trip.

But Chinese officials may have mistaken it for a terrorist video, a Jacobs family spokesman has claimed.

Mr Jacobs said: "The only things watched by myself and the group was a short clip of the 10 best Western cowboy films of all time and a 40-minute BBC documentary on Genghis Khan.

"These were watched from a laptop computer in our hotel.

"I think it is fairly obvious that our tour group would not have been released by senior Chinese officials had we done anything wrong."

Six Britons and five South Africans who had been detained, were released and deported on 15 July. The remaining nine tourists - three Britons, two dual UK-South African citizens, three South Africans and an Indian national - were freed two days later.

The group was detained a day after visiting the Genghis Khan Mausoleum at Ordos.

The site was built in honour of the Mongol warrior-ruler, whose armies established an empire stretching across Asia and parts of modern-day eastern Europe in the 13th Century.

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