HONG KONG—A local bookseller who vanished last year along with four of his colleagues, sparking protests over the perceived erosion of freedom of speech in this city, returned to Hong Kong on Tuesday with a request for police: Drop the investigation into his disappearance.
Lam Wing Kee met with Hong Kong police, told them he didn’t require any assistance, and declined to disclose other details, according to a police statement. He couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday.
Mr. Lam’s request was identical to those of three colleagues who returned to Hong Kong in March and also asked police to stop their investigations. A fifth colleague, Gui Minhai, remains in Chinese police custody, though he has yet to be formally charged with a crime.
Mr. Lam and colleagues Lui Por and Cheung Chi Ping vanished in October while in mainland China. Mr. Gui went missing from his vacation home in Thailand the same month, and another colleague, Lee Bo, disappeared from Hong Kong in December. The five were all affiliated with the Causeway Bay Books store and Mighty Current, its related publisher, which produced works of political gossip.
Under Hong Kong’s separate legal system, the city’s bookshops are allowed to sell books that are banned in mainland China. Hong Kong hosts publishers of material ranging from salacious gossip on Chinese leaders’ personal lives to serious critical commentary and histories of politics in the country.
The men’s disappearance has had a chilling effect on Hong Kong’s media scene, publishers have said. Some politicians, meanwhile, said the disappearances have threatened Hong Kong’s political autonomy.
A person answering the phone at the Chinese government’s liaison office in Hong Kong said no one was available to answer questions. A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman previously said China is committed to Hong Kong’s “one country, two systems” arrangement, under which the city maintains its own legal, political and economic systems.Read more...
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