Hong Kong politics

Hong Kong bookseller disappearances

I wasn’t abducted by mainland agents … Lam Wing-kee has it wrong, Lee Po insists

Bookseller at heart of saga also claims he never gave customer lists to mainland authorities

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 June, 2016, 2:52pm
UPDATED : Friday, 17 June, 2016, 10:47pm

In a dramatic twist, Lee Po, the man at the heart of the missing booksellers saga hit back on Friday at claims made by an associate that he had been kidnapped and had turned over customer lists to mainland authorities.

“Originally, I had no plans to say anything more,” Lee wrote on his Facebook page on Friday. “But because Lam Wing-kee made a few remarks, I just had to make some clarifications.”

Lee said he had “never used the computer at Causeway Bay Books” and had “never printed out any lists of customers, much less passing any lists to mainland police”.

Calls grow to fix ‘dysfunctional’ Beijing-Hong Kong channels after local bookseller’s tale of mainland abduction

He further stated that, when he met Lam on Thursday, he never mentioned how he ended up in the mainland from Hong Kong.

“I did not talk about how I returned to the mainland”
Lee Po, Hong Kong bookseller

“When I was chatting with Lam Wing-kee, I did not talk about how I returned to the mainland, and so I didn’t say I went to the mainland involuntarily or anything similar to that,” he said. “During my time there, I was assisting with the investigation by Ningbo’s public security bureau. I have never heard of the central investigation team.”

Lee’s Facebook page was previously not made public.

His remarks came a day after Lam delivered explosive revelations of how he was abducted while crossing the border to Shenzhen. Lam quoted Lee as saying Lam was kidnapped while in Hong Kong, but Lee did not specify who the kidnappers were.

He also on Thursday accused Lee of passing a list of 400 to 500 customers to mainland authorities.

Lam claimed he was kidnapped by the mainland’s central investigation team while he was crossing the border to Shenzhen on October 24 last year.

Meanwhile, Acting Chief Executive John Tsang Chun-wah broke his silence on Friday but adhered to a government statement released late Thursday.

“No enforcement agencies from outside Hong Kong are allowed to carry out enforcement actions in Hong Kong. That’s illegal and unacceptable,” he said. “We have always attached great importance to the personal safety of Hong Kong residents. We will continue to protect Hong Kong residents’ rights and their freedom in accordance with the law.”

Full transcript of Lam Wing-kee’s opening statement at his Hong Kong press conference

Since October last year, five associates from the Mighty Current publishing house and its Causeway Bay Books establishment disappeared one after the other. Gui Minhai vanished in October from Thailand. Lam, Cheung Chi-ping and Lui Por disappeared from the mainland in the same month. Lee went missing from Hong Kong in December.

Daughter of missing Hong Kong bookseller Gui Minhai hopeful after return of Lam Wing-kee

Their disappearances have sparked fears that they were kidnapped by Chinese agents, as their companies specialised in books critical of the Chinese Communist Party.