Hong Kong security chief says ‘no legal way’ to return bookseller Lam Wing-kee to China

July 6, 2016/ abc.net

Hong Kong’s security chief says there is no legal way a Hong Kong bookseller who returned to the city after being detained on the mainland could be sent back to China.

Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok’scomments came after a one-day trip to Beijing to meet with officials, after five Hong Kong booksellers who went missing last year later surfaced in mainland Chinese custody.

One of the booksellers, Lam Wing-kee, returned to Hong Kong last month and held a press conference detailing his months of captivity and repeated interrogations by mainland agents.

A mainland Chinese law enforcement body on Tuesday said Mr Lam had violated his bail terms and criminal enforcement measures would be triggered by his failure to return — it did not specify what those measures might entail. Mr Lai said a formal request for Mr Lam’s return to China had not been discussed at the meeting in Beijing.

Key points:

  • Security chief says Hong Kong will handle the case according to its own laws
  • Controversy over the booksellers erupted last year when five men disappeared
  • Lam Wing-kee has since led protests saying he was held in captivity for months

“There is no legal arrangement for the transfer of a person to the mainland authorities and the Hong Kong government will handle all cases in accordance with the law of Hong Kong,” Mr Lai told reporters on Wednesday.

Hong Kong officials pledged to provide any necessary police protection for Mr Lam, who said he had been followed by strangers and feared for his safety. The officials said the vehicle that was reportedly following Mr Lam was rented by the media.

Beijing not following ‘one country, two systems’ arrangement

Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China, governed by separate laws under a 1997 agreement with the British that returned it to Chinese rule.

The controversy surrounding the Hong Kong booksellers erupted last year when the five men associated with the Causeway Bay Books store disappeared. Read more…

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