Following media reports about the recent detention of Hoosain Jacobs and Tahira Jacobs and their 18 friends in Inner Mongolia,China, a UK-based spokesman for the family commented,
“We are very happy and relieved to hear that the nine remaining tourists, who have been detained in Ordos, China, have now been released and are due to return back home in the next few days.
“Mr Hoosain Jacobs, aged 74, and his wife, Mrs Tahira Jacobs, aged 68, will be travelling with their seven friends. The final party of nine comprises three British citizens, five South Africans, and one Indian. The Jacobs are of dual nationality (British and South African) and travelled with South African passports.
“We are also delighted that yesterday morning, Thursday July 16, six British people from the tour group in London arrived safely back home and today five South Africans are due home. They are tired after their ordeal but in good spirits. While the experience was distressing in the first instance, they say they were looked after at all times and treated well.
“The family and friends are extremely grateful to the support received from the British Government and the Consulate in Beijing, the South African Government‘s Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), the South African Consulate in Beijing and the Indian Government. The family would also like to pay special thanks to the Deputy President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, who was in China on official business at the time the group was detained.
“Thanks also go to the charity, Gift of the Givers, plus the many media organisations which have expressed support. And finally we would like to thank the family and friends both here in the UK, and in South Africa who have worked tirelessly around the clock to help resolve this issue.
“The original tourist group of 20 were on a deluxe sight-seeing tour of China, organised by a Chinese tour operator called China Odyssey Tours, with Chinese guides, expected to last 47 days. It started in Hong Kong and was due to end in Shanghai.
“At the start, the tourists in the group included nine British citizens, ten South African citizens and one Indian citizen.
“The group is a mixture of multi-faith men and women from both Islamic, Christian and Hindu religions who knew each other well and had travelled the world together in the past, including Israel and the USA.
“This tour included visits to temples, gardens, mountains and national parks and was to culminate in a visit to the Terracotta Warriorsand Horses in Xian and the Great Wall in Beijing.
“Chinese officials arrested the group of 20 tourists on day 30 of the 47-day tour, a day after they visited the Genghis Khan Mausoleum at Ordos, Inner Mongolia. The arrest took place at the airport in Ordos on Friday July 10 2015, just before they were to board a plane to their next destination, namely Xian.
“The peace-loving group of people aged 33 to 74 believe only in love and the unity of the Human Spirit, were on a private sight-seeing tour in China to see the ancient and modern wonders, and learn and experience new cultures.
“No one in the group has been charged and it is believed the reason they were arrested was because of an unfortunate misunderstanding. They watched a documentary on Genghis Khan to further their understanding of the region they were in at the time, and this may have mistakenly been deemed as ‘propaganda’ material. The Group visited the Genghis Khan Mausoleum in Ordos on the day before their arrest.
“It can only be assumed that junior officials who made the initial arrest in Inner Mongolia made a mistake, due to perhaps their unfamiliarity of the English language. The Jacobs Family wish to thank the Senior Chinese Authorities in Beijing for the swift manner in which they have resolved this unfortunate misunderstanding.
“All members of the group are by their nature considerate and law abiding citizens, with absolutely no criminal records whatsoever.
“The group have suffered an unfortunate and stressful ordeal, and would now like to recuperate and spend time with their loved ones. They wish to express their thanks to the media for respecting their privacy, so that they may get back to living their normal lives.”
The Jacobs Family do not intend to conduct any interviews.
Information provided on behalf of the Jacobs family by Tina Fotherby at Famous Publicity on +44(0)7703-409-622, email firstname.lastname@example.org.