A TEACHER from Bishopton who has been separated from his wife for months after he was forced to leave China is warning people of the dangers of living there.

Martin O’Brien, 27, claims he was interrogated over his visa in the city of Shenzhen for several days in June while being held in solitary confinement in a squalid jail cell.

After being detained for six days by Chinese immigration officials, he was told to sign forms admitting to overstaying his legal right to be in the country.

Martin, who had lived and worked in China since 2016, then had to accept a new 10-day visa before taking a flight home to the UK, rather than being deported.

He is now sleeping on a friend’s sofa and struggling to find work while he desperately tries to find a way to be reunited with his wife Pamela, who remains in the Far East.

Martin, a former pupil at Trinity High School, in Renfrew, said he fears for Pamela’s welfare, as she was committed to a psychiatric hospital for six months last year after suffering a miscarriage while expecting their first child.

This led to him leaving his job as an English and music teacher to become her full-time carer.

After the couple’s savings were depleted by Pamela’s medical bills, Martin then contracted coronavirus during lockdown and had to spend several days in an intensive care room in a Chinese hospital.

During the summer, he was ordered out of China after police authorities claimed his visa had ran out in March, despite Martin’s stamped temporary residence form saying it had been extended until June.

He was also told by the British Embassy to take a £3,000 flight through China Southern Airlines – a debt he would have to pay back.

Martin said he now wants to raise awareness among UK residents about the dangers of travelling to and residing in China.

“I want to warn people that this sort of thing happens a lot there,” he told The Gazette.

“I was living in China for four years and was married to a resident there and look at the treatment I received.

“They cancelled my visa and they might never grant me another one, so I’m not sure when I’ll next be able to see my wife.”

Martin is now raising money to help bring his wife to Scotland as unrest in China continues to escalate.

He said: “I’m still in touch with my wife every day but I fear for her wellbeing.

“She has told me that, because of the political tensions, she is receiving harassment from locals as she has a foreign husband.”

A spokesperson for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said: “Our staff supported a British man who was arrested in China for overstaying his visa, including by providing financial assistance to cover his flight back to the UK.”

To support Martin’s fundraising efforts, visit www.gofundme.com/f/an-urgent-appeal-please-read-my-story.