THE Home Office launched an inquiry yesterday into why a minister was not told about a medical condition of Hong Kong-born Albert Tong Hing-fai after he was dragged from his church sanctuary and suffered an apparent heart attack. Immigration minister Ann Widdecombe defended the Home Office's handling of the case, saying it was not known that he had medical problems. However, the Home Office later conceded officials had been made aware of his problem, but had not told ministers. Mr Tong is in hospital after being taken ill following his arrest on Thursday at the Marazion Methodist Church near Penzance, Cornwall. A spokesman at Treliske Hospital, Truro, said Mr Tong had been seen by a senior cardiologist. He added: 'There is some evidence to suggest that he may have had a slight heart attack. 'We are awaiting the results of further investigations in order to confirm the diagnosis. However, Mr Tong will be kept in for a few days for observation.' The Home Office said: 'Ann Widdecombe was unaware of any medical condition suffered by Mr Tong. It is now clear that Mr Tong's solicitors had written to the Home Office stating that he had become prone to severe panic attacks. This correspondence was received by officials at the end of May, but not drawn to the attention of ministers.' Miss Widdecombe faced similar embarrassment in January when she had to apologise to the Commons for misleading MPs over the handcuffing of a pregnant woman prisoner, as a result of advice given to her by the Prison Service. Mr Tong settled in Britain 17 years ago after overstaying a visitor's visa and had been due to be sent back to Hong Kong on Friday. The Home Office has said Mr Tong, 43, will not be deported until he is fit to travel. Police surgeon Dr Steven Hindley, who examined Mr Tong at Newquay police station, said he had written to the Home Secretary Michael Howard about the case. He told the Home Secretary it was unsatisfactory that he should be asked to make a judgment as to whether someone was fit to travel when he knew he was going to be 'dumped' at his destination. Mr Tong was arrested at the church and detained by police and immigration officials. The Methodist minister, the Reverend Alan Bailey, said Mr Tong was taken away 'kicking and screaming'. Mr Tong was granted sanctuary at the church after vanishing from his home in Camborne, Cornwall, just hours before he was due to be deported. But he had no legal protection: the right of sanctuary was abolished more than 370 years ago. Mr Tong's MP, Liberal Democrat Matthew Taylor, said he would seek to raise Dr Hindley's criticisms with Mr Howard tomorrow. In his letter to the Home Secretary, Dr Hindley said that in attempting to execute the Home Office warrant, the police were placed in the unenviable position of having to manhandle a sick man. He said he could not medically sanction Mr Tong's deportation because it was likely he suffered from a recognised psychiatric disorder for which he received inadequate treatment. That and his physical state might take 'several weeks' to address, he said. 'And as far as I am aware no plans have been made by your department to ensure that he receives continuing medical care at his destination,' Dr Hindley said. The doctor signed his letter 'yours in disgust'.