The wife of missing bookseller Lee Bo has asked police to close their investigation into the case, Ming Pao Daily reported Tuesday.
Her request came just three days after she made a missing-person report at North Point Police Station on Jan. 1.
Lee’s disappearance on Wednesday last week has been linked by Democratic Party lawmaker Albert Ho Chun-yan to a book Ho said he heard Lee, a shareholder in the Mighty Current Media Co. Ltd. publishing house, was preparing to publish about an early romance of President Xi Jinping.
A police spokesman confirmed that Lee’s wife made the request on Monday night to close the case.
But he said police will continue following up the case and the Hong Kong Island regional missing-persons unit has already contacted her.
The unexpected request came after Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying emphasized to reporters Monday that only law enforcement agencies in Hong Kong have the legal authority to enforce laws in the city.
“I and related government departments are very concerned, and the government cares very much about Hong Kong residents’ rights and safety,” Leung said.
Lee’s wife said immediately after Leung’s remarks that she was under tremendous pressure but there was nothing she could do but wait for good news.
However, it appears that something may have happened later in the day to prompt her to withdraw her request for help from the police.
She had told reporters Friday that her husband had called her, apparently from Shenzhen, shortly after he vanished and warned her not to publicize his disappearance.
Meanwhile, Taiwan’s Central News Agency published Monday night a letter allegedly sent by Lee to staff of Causeway Bay Books, the bookstore Mighty Current owns.
He wrote in it that he had returned to the mainland “in his own way” to assist in investigations by authorities and was in good condition.
His wife confirmed she received the same letter but would not elaborate.
Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun said the latest development in the case could only create more fear among Hongkongers about the central government’s tightening of its control over Hong Kong.
To urged the police to get to the bottom of the case so as to clear public concern about the roles of the Hong Kong government and mainland authorities in the affair.
In the meantime, Lee’s friends have reported his disappearance to British authorities, since he holds a British passport.
The British Consulate-General in Hong Kong said in a reply to an inquiry from Ming Pao that it is aware of the case and has taken urgent action on it.
In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying declined to comment Monday on Lee’s disappearance, saying she knew little about it.
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