HONG KONG, Aug 2 (Reuters) - A follower of the Falun Gong spiritual movement died recently in custody in China apparently after a beating, a Hong Kong rights group said on Thursday.

Police in Wuhan city in Hubei province detained Li Changjun, 33, on May 16 for downloading and printing Falun Gong information from the Internet, the Information Center for Human Rights & Democracy said in a statement.

The Falun Gong movement is banned in China.

Li, who worked at Wuhan's land tax authority, was taken to a detention centre and on June 27, his family was informed of his sudden death, the rights group said.

The group said Li's family found his body covered with wounds and suspected he had died of beating while in custody.

Li had been been detained many times since Beijing launched its crackdown on Falun Gong in July 1999, the centre said.

Falun Gong members have long accused mainland authorities of brutal treatment.

Authorities in China were not immediately available for comment.

Chinese authorities have in the past acknowledged several deaths of Falun Gong members in custody.[...]

The Hong Kong-based human rights group said it had proved a total of 156 deaths of Falun Gong followers as a result of abuse by authorities in China since the start of the crackdown.

A Hong Kong Falun Gong follower, Chan Yuk-to, was arrested in Beijing in mid-July, Hong Kong members of the spiritual movement said on Thursday.

He was the second Hong Kong Falun Gong practitioner to be arrested by authorities in mainland China, they said.

"We don't know where our son is since his arrest," said Chan's mother, Lau Yuk-ling.

She called on Hong Kong's immigration authorities for help and sent a letter to Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji seeking the release of her son.

"The Hong Kong government will provide assistance to Mr Chan Yuk-to following existing procedures," a Hong Kong government spokeswoman said.

The Falun Gong movement, [...], is legal in Hong Kong, which retained a high degree of autonomy after reverting to Chinese rule in 1997.