Eight British soldiers held captive by an army unit of the People's Republic of China after they inadvertently crossed into Chinese territory said at a Hong Kong news conference on Wednesday that the Chinese had treated them very well.
GV Beaconsfield House, Hong Kong
GV & SV Int. soldiers in front of newsmen (2 shots)
GV Sgt. Skater making statement (SOUND ON FILM)
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ. 3: SERGEANT : "Accidentally we crossed the border line with two vehicles. As soon as we had crossed the border we were surrounded by a lot of civilian people, around both vehicles. I got out of my vehicle, I ordered my men to stay calm, to get out of their vehicles and not fire any of their weapons. When we were all out of our vehicles, the civilians surrounded us, we were jostled about a bit, not much, and then the P.L.A. came up, and took control of us. Our weapons were taken off us, and we then were marched away to a building, where we were treated very well. They gave us tea, and biscuits, and cigarettes, and there we stayed until last night. Last night about nine o'clock they treated us to a dinner. They fed us well with meat, eggs and rice. At the end, more tea, and more cigarettes. I myself was the only one questioned by them, they asked me how I managed to cross their borderline, I explained to them a mistake had been made, and I apologized to them, for doing this. None of the other men were questioned at all."
REPORTER: "What form did your apology take, do you remember your exact words?
SERGEANT: "I was asked how I managed to cross their border line. I told them quite happily, and I apologised on the spot. I was asked then to write it down, and I wrote down on a piece of paper for them that I and my seven men and two vehicles did unlawfully cross into their borderline."
Initials OS/1534 OS/1539
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Background: Eight British soldiers held captive by an army unit of the People's Republic of China after they inadvertently crossed into Chinese territory said at a Hong Kong news conference on Wednesday that the Chinese had treated them very well.
Their spokesman Quartar Master Sergeant Joseph Skates described the treatment he and seven other Irish Guards received when seized on Tuesday at Sha Tau Kok, a tiny village which straddles the frontier between Hong Kong and The People's Republic.
The soldiers were freed on Wednesday night after nine and a half hours in the village.
This was how Sergeant Skates described the soldiers' experience: