At least two Hong Kong residents were detained in Shenzhen on Friday for allegedly engaging in illegal publishing, the city's police said late on Saturday.
A brief weibo statement issued by the Shenzhen Public Security Bureau at 10.30pm did not give the suspects' full names. "On May 30, acting on a tip-off from the public, Shenzhen police... apprehended several suspects, all Hong Kong residents and including Wang and Guo, who were suspected of operating illegal publications," it said. "All suspects, including Wang and Guo, have been detained by police in accordance to law."
Many internet users responded at the bottom of the weibo post with suggestions of the suspects' identities. Because the surname Guo is rare both in Hong Kong and the mainland, many believed that the pair were journalists with a Hong Kong-based publisher of two magazines on mainland political gossip.
Both had worked for a prominent Chinese-language periodical before they joined the publishing house amid the growing popularity of political publications among mainland tourists visiting Hong Kong. These publications often deal with sensitive topics on the mainland.
News of the detentions follows a series of investigations and convictions of a Hong Kong-based publisher and citizen journalists in recent months. Some were accused of working for overseas political news outlets, while others were involved with politically sensitive publications.
Xiang Nanfu, a journalist for the overseas-based political news website Boxun, was detained in Beijing last month for selling "fabricated information" to the website.
On May 8, the outspoken veteran journalist Gao Yu was placed under criminal detention for allegedly leaking a confidential Communist Party document to an overseas website.
The day before, Yiu Man-tin, a 73-year-old retired Hong Kong engineer turned publisher, was jailed by a Shenzhen court for 10 years for "smuggling ordinary goods". He was preparing to publish a book entitled China's Godfather: Xi Jinping by dissident writer Yu Jie before he was arrested in October.
The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Guangdong said it had received no requests for assistance over the weekend.