CHINA has been asked to help Hong Kong police trying to secure the release of a barge stolen from Tuen Mun last week and now thought to be under armed guard in a mainland port. Police sources said local inquiries had drawn a blank, but mainland shipping contacts had revealed the barge was now locked in a Public Security Bureau (PSB) depot in Zhapo, more than 160 kilometres west of the Pearl River delta. Interpol officers are liaising with their Chinese counterparts to get the barge back. It is not known how the PSB came to be in possession of the barge, the Fuk Shing. The 30-metre Fuk Shing disappeared from a public cargo working area in Tuen Mun last Wednesday, complete with 46 containers - some packed with more than $1 million worth of cigarettes and electrical goods. Police sources said it was understood the barge was towed from Tuen Mun by a local tug, which may have transferred it to a mainland vessel. The Taiwanese-bound goods were due to be loaded on to the cargo vessel Ace Container, which is now headed for Chilung with new cargo. Nelson Tang Chi-kong, operations manager for the owners' agents, Po Wick Shipping, said he was heartened by the news from his mainland contacts, but did not understand why Chinese authorities had impounded the vessel.