A Hong Kong bookseller could slip back under the radar even after Guangdong police confirmed his whereabouts because authorities are refusing to release further details.
Lee Bo, who went missing from Hong Kong on Dec. 30 and feared kidnapped by Chinese security officers, wrote to his wife on Jan. 4 that he had returned to the mainland voluntarily to help in an unspecified investigation.
Authorities in Guangdong province later confirmed Lee was in the mainland but did not say how he ended up there and why.
Ming Pao Daily is reporting that the refusal of mainland authorities to release further details about Lee is clouding his circumstances.
Lee’s three other co-publishers in Hong Kong-based Mighty Current Media Ltd. are still missing.
A fifth colleague, Gui Minhai, surfaced in a mainland media interview Sunday, saying he had surrendered to the police for a 2003 drunk-driving homicide conviction.
Mighty Current Media publishes books critical of the Beijing elite.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said he has “nothing to add” to the official accounts on Lee and Gui.
Meng Jianzhu, a senior Communist Party official, acted as a go-between in the search for Lee between mainland and Hong Kong police, according to Ming Pao.
But days passed before authorities confirmed Lee’s whereabouts.
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said it is not uncommon for the mainland authorities to take time to reply to the Hong Kong government.
Leung said Hong Kong police have asked the Guangdong Provincial Public Security Department for a meeting with Lee.
The incident attracted Interpol after Britain and Sweden expressed concern. Lee is a British passport holder and Gui is a Swedish national.
Meanwhile, a Legislative Council panel will discuss cross-border notification procedures for missing persons and assistance to Hong Kong residents detained in the mainland.
– Contact us at [email protected]