Reuters International

HONG KONG (Reuters) - A man linked to Hong Kong's pro-democratic opposition was arrested in China in connection with a plot to use a drone to disrupt a mainland delegation due to visit the global hub, China's state news agency reported on Sunday.

The unnamed man, arrested in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, was a "sponsor" of Hong Kong's opposition camp and worked with another opposition figure to obtain the drone, the Xinhua report said.

The purchase was part of a plot to cause "disruptive activities" against the delegation.

Xinhua carried few details on the incident, which comes amid heightened political and social tensions over perceived mainland interference in the former British colony.

Hong Kong was guaranteed widespread freedoms and autonomy under an agreement that saw Britain hand it back to Chinese sovereignty in 1997.

The Xinhua report did not state which mainland delegation was the target, but news of the arrest comes just ahead of the visit to the city on Tuesday by Zhang Dejiang, the chairman of China's National People's Congress and the third-ranked member of the ruling Politburo standing committee.

Zhang, who is responsible for Hong Kong affairs, is the highest Communist Party leader to visit Hong Kong since large-scale democracy protests rocked the city in late 2014.

Zhang is due to meet senior government officials and Hong Kong legislators in what is being billed as an inspection trip.

A Hong Kong police spokeswoman told Reuters that they were notified of the arrest by Shenzhen authorities on Sunday morning and had requested further details.

Shenzhen authorities could not be reached for comment.

Hong Kong police have mobilised several thousand police to secure the city for Zhang's three-day visit, which also comes three months since a night of rioting erupted in the Kowloon district of Mongkok during Lunar New Year celebrations.

(Reporting by Greg Torode and James Pomfret in Hong Kong; editing by Clelia Oziel)

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