Hong kong – Chinese police confirm three missing Hong Kong booksellers held for ‘illegal activities’ in China
Chinese police have confirmed for the first time three of the five Hong Kong booksellers who have been missing since last year are being investigated for “illegal activities”.
Lui Por, Cheung Chi-ping and Lam Wing-kee, from the Mighty Current publishing house, disappeared in southern mainland China in October.
The booksellers specialise in selling and publishing salacious titles critical of China’s Communist Party leaders.
A fourth missing member of the company, Gui Minhai, a Swedish national, was paraded on Chinese state television in January, where he said he had turned himself in for a fatal driving accident 11 years ago.
Mr Gui had failed to return to Hong Kong from a holiday in Thailand in October.
In a letter to Hong Kong police, China’s Guangdong Provincial Public Security Department said the three men being held “were suspected to be involved in a case relating to a person named Gui, and were involved in illegal activities on the mainland”.
“Criminal compulsory measures were imposed on them and they were under investigation,” the letter, released by Hong Kong police on Thursday said.
Enclosed was also a letter from the fifth missing bookseller, Lee Bo, Hong Kong police said.
Mr Lee’s case sparked the strongest backlash as he was the only one of the men to have disappeared while in Hong Kong. He was last seen at a book warehouse in his home city in December.
Authorities, including in the United kingdom and the United States, have expressed concerns over the disappearances.
The case has prompted fears mainland Chinese authorities may be using shadowy tactics that erode the “one country, two systems” formula under which Hong Kong has been governed since its return to China from British rule in 1997.