Date
30 March 2017
Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok (inset left) and Commissioner of Police Stephen Lo Wai-chung said the government is asking relevant mainland authorities for a meeting with Lee Bo. Photos: HKEJ, RTHK
Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok (inset left) and Commissioner of Police Stephen Lo Wai-chung said the government is asking relevant mainland authorities for a meeting with Lee Bo. Photos: HKEJ, RTHK

Security, police chiefs grilled over missing booksellers

Legislators on Tuesday grilled Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok on how the government is handling the cases of the five missing booksellers.

Appearing before the Legislative Council’s panel on security, Lai was vague as to which mainland authority is the Hong Kong government’s primary source of information regarding Lee Bo and his four associates who disappeared one after the other since October last year, Ming Pao Daily reported on Wednesday.

But he said the government has been actively trying to get as much information as possible about the five Hong Kong individuals from multiple authorities in the mainland. He declined to reveal the authorities’ names.

On Sunday Hong Kong police said Lee, who has been missing since Dec. 30 last year, met with his wife in a hotel in an undisclosed location in the mainland over the weekend, and he handed a letter addressed to the police saying he was safe and free.

When asked by lawmaker Dennis Kwok Wing-hang whether Lee is under detention or otherwise, Lai said he only knew Lee is in the mainland based on information provided by the Guangdong Provincial Public Security Department, adding that he is waiting for a reply to his request for a meeting with the bookseller.

Asked whether the government will ask the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office to get involved, Lai did not give a direct answer, saying only that the government treats the cases very seriously.

Meanwhile, Commissioner of Police Stephen Lo Wai-chung said in a press conference on Tuesday that the police force, including the criminal unit of the Hong Kong Island Regional Headquarters, has been aggressively following up on the cases.

Lo denied allegations that the police department has been passive in dealing the cases and only assigning lower-ranking officers to deal with them.

He said police are working with all possible channels as well as urging mainland authorities to arrange a meeting with Lee.

Lo did not say if the police would ask for help from Beijing’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong.

Democratic Party legislator James To Kun-sun said the government refused to reveal which mainland authorities it has been contacting regarding the case because it does not want to depict them as uncooperative.

To said Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying should go directly to President Xi Jinping for help if there is still no reply from other mainland authorities after a period of time.

Leung told reporters on Tuesday the police department had written another letter to its Guangdong counterpart to seek a meeting with Lee.

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TL/AC/CG

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