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Family confirms release of 'missing' SA student from prison in China

Alfa Mpetsheni (in both pictures) has been released from prison in China, his family confirmed.
Alfa Mpetsheni (in both pictures) has been released from prison in China, his family confirmed.
Image: Supplied

The family of a student held in a Chinese prison has confirmed his release and hope he will return soon to SA.

The young man's father, Thulani Mpetsheni, said he was relieved that his son Alfa had been released.

“He called us a few days ago, saying that he was released and he was doing well. We are very excited as we were worried for long,” he said.

The 25-year-old is a BCom student at Zhejiang Gongshang University in Hangzhou. His family was alerted to his disappearance by friends. He was supposed to have gone with them on a holiday to Bangkok, Thailand.

It later emerged that he was detained by the Shanghai Public Security Bureau.

After news of his son's release, the elated father added that the SA consulate in Shanghai was “busy processing” Alfa's papers “because his visa expired while he was in prison”.

Despite the coronavirus outbreak in China, Thulani was confident his son would return soon. “We hope he will be home soon, as they say it takes 10 days to complete the process.” 

Department of international relations & cooperation (Dirco) spokesperson Lunga Ngqengelele would not elaborate on Mpetsheni's return.

“Ask the family — they have all the information as the consular services [communicate with] the families and not the media. It will be up to them to share information about their loved one,” he said.  


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