Friday August 10, 5:58 PM

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Followers of the controversial Falun Gong spiritual movement protested in Hong Kong on Friday against China's detention of a member from the territory.

About 50 members marched to the Chinese liaison office in Hong Kong's western district waving placards slamming the China's crackdown on the group.

"Beijing police are lawless," read one of the slogans.

The protesters left an open letter at the door of the office addressed to Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji and other leaders, demanding the immediate release of Chan Yuk-to and an end to persecution of Falun Gong followers.

Chan, 34, is a permanent resident of Hong Kong but works in mainland China.

His mother, also a Falun Gong member, said she had been denied contact with Chan and was worried he was being tortured.

With music softly playing in the background, protesters sat in lotus positions and did breathing exercises outside the building, marking the end of a three-day protest across the territory.

Falun Gong is vilified and banned in Beijing but legal in Hong Kong, a former British colony that was promised a high degree of autonomy when it reverted to Chinese rule in 1997.

A spokeswoman for the group told Reuters Chan was the second Hong Kong practitioner to be detained in mainland China.

She said the first had been sentenced to five years in jail in the city of Tianjin just to the east of Beijing.

The spiritual movement says over 50,000 practitioners have been thrown into prisons, labour camps and mental hospitals around China where they are mentally and physically abused.

Human rights groups estimate some 200 Falun Gong adherents have died from torture during detention in China.

Some 130 Falun Gong members at a labour camp in the northeastern province of Liaoning have been on hunger strike for 10 days, the movement said in New York.

The Falun Dafa Info Center said the protest began when authorities failed to release members at the end of their jail terms.

China, which accuses Falun Gong of [Jiang Zemin government's slanderous term omitted], banned the movement in 1999.