The case of the missing bookseller threatened to descend from mystery to farce Tuesday.
A pro-establishment Hong Kong lawmaker alleged Lee Bo, a major shareholder in Mighty Current Media Co., and his four colleagues who disappeared earlier were arrested for sneaking into the mainland and patronizing prostitutes.
Lee’s wife, Sophie Choi Ka-ping (蔡嘉蘋), said she reserves all rights against finance constituency legislator Ng Leung-sing for his remarks, Ming Pao Daily reported Wednesday.
Ng said during a meeting of the Legislative Council’s panel on security that he had received a text message from a friend suggesting that Lee and his four co-workers were missing because they took illegal speedboats from Hong Kong to the mainland and were arrested for patronizing prostitutes.
He said Choi was sent photos of her husband being arrested, and that was why she asked police Monday night to close the missing-person investigation she had requested Friday.
Countering proposals from some pro-democracy legislators for a special meeting to be held to discuss the case, Ng said it was not worth escalating to the level of Legco.
Choi said in a text message to reporters Tuesday night that it was shameful and irresponsible of Ng to have made such derogatory remarks in the solemn setting of the legislature.
She said that not only did Ng’s accusations hurt her, but he was also treating Hongkongers like fools.
“Who would steal into mainland China to visit a prostitute?” she asked.
Ip Kwok-him, a legislator from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong who chairs the panel on security, tried to interrupt Ng while he was reading out the text message, to no avail.
Civic Party lawmaker Claudia Mo Man-ching said Ng was a disgrace to the legislature.
Labour Party legislator Cyd Ho Sau-lan said Ng’s remarks are a vivid example of an attempt to “murder someone’s integrity”.
Ho said Lee’s case should be discussed further in Legco, as it involves the police carrying out their duties and making arrests.
Legislator Raymond Chan Chi-Chuen of People Power said what Ng quoted was merely a rumor circulating online.
Chan said the pro-establishment camp should not assume that the case is no longer worth investigating because of a fax message from Lee saying he was safe.
During a radio interview Wednesday morning, Ng made a half-hearted apology to Choi.
He said he didn’t regret speaking up in the meeting and that although he could not confirm the genuineness of the text message, he wanted to make it known to the public for its reference.
“I apologize here. I should not, should not, have said it when things have not been clarified,” RTHK quoted him as saying. Nevertheless, Ng said he was only citing a message from a friend.
Choi said it was as if Ng “had slapped you in the face and said sorry afterward”.
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