Connect with us

Hua Hin

Canadians held in China caught in political battle, son says

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published

 on 

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Canadians held in China caught in political battle, son says
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The son of a Canadian couple detained in China over spying allegations said on Tuesday his parents did not attempt to obtain military secrets and have been caught instead by the increasingly tense relations between Ottawa and Beijing.

Simeon Garratt also said his parents, who have lived in China for 30 years, did not try to convert local Chinese to Christianity or send missionaries or converts into North Korea.

Garratt said the arrest of his parents, Kevin Garratt, 54, and Julia Dawn Garratt, 53, is “pretty absurd,” because they have lived as open Christians in China for years without any trouble. The parents have run a coffee shop in Dandong, near the North Korea border, since 2008.

“I think there is some sort of political play going on here and my parents happen to be caught in the middle of it,” said Garratt, 27, looking tired and red-eyed outside his apartment in Vancouver. “They just happen to be Christian people who have an affinity for China and North Korea.”

The official Xinhua news agency said the State Security Bureau of Dandong city in northeast Liaoning province was investigating the Garratts, adding that the case involves the stealing of state secrets.

The investigation into the Garratts comes a week after Canada took the unusual step of singling out Chinese hackers for attacking a key computer network and lodged a protest with Beijing.

Simeon Garratt said his parents and brother, Peter Garratt, who also lives in Dandong, have had no past problems with authorities in China and regularly deal with the government to renew their visas and file official paperwork.

“My mom does some teaching at the university there, and through that they do what are called ‘English corners’ every Friday at the coffee shop where hundreds of Chinese locals come out and learn about North America,” he said.

The Garratts have four children, including Simeon, who grew up in China but returned to live in Canada in 2010. He said his brother, Peter, has met with authorities in Dandong.

“I think (Peter) is fine, I’ve talked to him quite a bit,” Simeon Garratt said. “He went in and talked to the Chinese authorities, who are letting him know that my parents are being detained, held in an undisclosed location, and he should make sure he gets rest and sleep and try not to worry too much.”

TRAVEL TO NORTH KOREA

His father, Kevin, started a human rights nongovernmental organization to do aid work inside North Korea, and travels there regularly, Simeon Garratt said.

In an audio file posted on the website of the Canada-based Terra Nova Church, Kevin Garratt said he ran a prayer and training facility outside Dandong that was frequented by North Koreans, many of whom converted to Christianity before re-entering their isolated country.

Those claims, which could not be independently verified by Reuters, were likely to cause consternation in North Korea, a secretive country where religion is banned and proselytising is severely punished.

Simeon Garratt said he knew nothing about the audio file, dated Nov. 3, 2013, and which has since been removed from the Terra Nova website, along with all sermons. He said his father had been in Vancouver last November.

“The human aid work – obviously, Christian nature may play into that a bit. But it is not directly a Christian thing that they are doing,” he said. “They are just sending in 100 or 200 tons of oil, or grain and rice, small ovens, things that people can use.

“There are hundreds and thousands of people that are starving, dying, in North Korea and that is just one thing where they are trying to do their part.”

Simeon Garratt said Canadian officials in Ottawa and Beijing are trying to make contact with the couple but have warned that a resolution may take weeks or months.

China’s state secrets law is notoriously broad, covering everything from industry data to the exact birth dates of state leaders. Information can also be labelled a state secret retroactively. In severe cases, the theft of state secrets is punishable with life in prison or the death penalty.

“I’m definitely worried – more about the time frame of how long these kind of things can get dragged out, and the situation that may parents are in, than (about) the actual allegations,” Simeon Garratt said.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand8 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Nov 1 reopening proposed; arrest for “sexy” officer cosplay | September 24

Coronavirus (Covid-19)8 hours ago

Covid-19 UPDATE: Provincial totals, vaccinations and more

Coronavirus (Covid-19)11 hours ago

Contrary to Anutin, US says delivery of vaccines awaits Thailand

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Thailand11 hours ago

Sunsets, ‘Farangs’ and Boring Charisma | Thaiger Bites | Ep. 25

Thailand11 hours ago

CCSA approves reopening delay, state of emergency extension

Thailand13 hours ago

Video of feet on bread appears to be from India, not Thailand

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand14 hours ago

Thailand Top Stories | Thailand’s security council approves Emergency Decree extension | Sep 24

Coronavirus (Covid-19)14 hours ago

Phuket Covid-19: 3 new deaths, 322 released from medical care

Malaysia15 hours ago

Malaysia considers further re-opening to domestic tourism

Thailand15 hours ago

Thailand Re-opening, Costs and challenges | Good Morning Thailand | Ep. 96

Weather15 hours ago

Weather warning issued as tropical storm Dianmu approaches

Coronavirus (Covid-19)15 hours ago

Education ministry to accelerate vaccination of over 200,000 teachers

Myanmar16 hours ago

US judge orders Facebook to disclose anti-Rohingya content as part of international case against Myanmar

Tourism17 hours ago

Tourism operators slam government as re-opening postponed to November

Coronavirus (Covid-19)17 hours ago

Friday Covid Update: 12,697 new cases and 132 deaths

Tourism3 days ago

Travel data to Thailand for 106 million people unprotected online

Economy5 days ago

Cuts to import duty on alcohol, cigars, part of plan to entice wealthy foreigners

Crime3 days ago

OnlyFans content creators arrested by Thai police on pornography charges

Thailand4 days ago

Party at luxury villa in Phuket raided, homeowner allegedly assaults police officer

Coronavirus Vaccines5 days ago

Doctors say cardiac arrest caused death of man given AstraZeneca booster shot

Tourism6 days ago

Local businesses say they aren’t profiting from Phuket Sandbox

Coronavirus (Covid-19)5 days ago

Covid-19: Detailed info on vaccinations, hospitalisations, and provinces

Thailand5 days ago

Around 20 people arrested at Koh Samui restaurant for drinking alcohol, gambling, playing pool

Bangkok4 days ago

Governor says Bangkok will only re-open when safe to do so

Thailand4 days ago

Bangkok re-opening Criteria, Thai Airways keeps Struggling | Good Morning Thailand | Episode 93

Phuket2 days ago

Police suddenly began raiding Patong bars selling alcohol

Thailand5 days ago

Morning Top Stories | No approved October re-opening, Phuket easing restrictions | September 20

Crime2 days ago

Ex-cop “Joe Ferrari,” other officers charged with violating discipline policy over suspect’s death

Phuket5 days ago

Phuket domestic travel rules need streamlining, officials discuss

Thailand4 days ago

Government warns that posting pornographic material is illegal following OnlyFans creator being questioned by police

Thailand2 weeks ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism7 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism7 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism7 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending