Hong Kong is pressing Beijing to expand the cross-border communication system for criminal investigations to cover all mainland law enforcement agencies following the bookseller controversy. Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying reported progress on Wednesday. But he listed further goals as the justice and security ministers returned home from talks on the notification mechanism, prompted by concerns that it had failed to keep Hong Kong informed when Lam Wing-kee and four of his publishing associates were held for months on the mainland. Leung said Minister of Public Security Guo Shengkun had agreed that the 15-year-old mechanism “should be improved in view of changed circumstances and people’s expectations”. He said a key achievement in the first round of talks on Tuesday was that both sides agreed to inform each other within 14 days if they detained the other’s residents for criminal investigation. No arrangement with mainland China to transfer fugitives, Hong Kong officials say amid questions on Lam Wing-kee case The current system only requires notification as soon as practicable, without specifying a time limit. Mainland public security officials also agreed to give more facts in future relating to investigations and give notice “through additional channels”, Leung said. “We will also strive to include all law enforcement agencies in the notification system,” he said. Both sides will meet again later this month to continue talks on overhauling a system that has been in place since 2001. Mainland authorities notified their Hong Kong counterparts of Lam’s detention in February – four months after the fact – without saying what offence Lam had committed, what compulsory measures were imposed on him or where he was held. The bookseller caused a sensation last month when he returned from the mainland, claiming he had been held against his will and subjected to eight months of “mental torture”. ‘I think I’m half dead’: Hong Kong police to protect Lam Wing-kee in wake of claims he was tailed The existing mechanism covers five types of “compulsory measures” taken by four mainland agencies: public security bodies; customs; procuratorates; and the Ministry of State Security. Criminal measures include summonses for questioning, placing suspects on bail, residence under surveillance, detention and arrest. While Lam claimed his case was handled by a “central special investigative unit” – a secretive team that experts say reports to the Communist Party’s top leadership – Leung and other officials maintained they had never heard of the term. Bookseller Lam Wing-kee could face even tougher legal action, Beijing warns Lawmaker Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, a former security minister who signed the notification deal of 2001, welcomed progress in expanding its scope. She believed only a few mainland agencies were outside the current system. Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun said the agreement on the 14-day limit was not significant, as notification was already made within 15 days in 90 per cent of previous cases. On Wednesday night Chinese state television ran a report on Lam’s case, describing it as “inexplicable” that the bookseller had refused police and government help upon returning home, then complained that no one was helping him.