Two missing booksellers who were released from detention recently by Chinese authorities are believed to have rushed back to the mainland after spending a just a few hours in Hong Kong.
Cheung Chi-ping and Lui Por went back to the mainland after requesting the Hong Kong police to drop the missing person cases on them, reports say.
Cheung, business manager of Causeway Bay Books, entered Hong Kong on March 6, two days after his colleague Lui, the bookstore’s general manager, did the same.
The two were reportedly granted bail by Chinese authorities, allowing them to travel to Hong Kong.
But three other colleagues — Gui Minhai, Lee Bo and Lam Wing-kee — were yet to leave China.
During their trips to Hong Kong, Cheung and Lui are said to have told the police that they don’t need any help from the Hong Kong government and that the missing person cases should be dropped.
The South China Morning Post reported Thursday, citing sources, that both the booksellers went back to the mainland the same day they arrived in Hong Kong.
Police have declined to comment on the matter.
Confirming the report, Bei Ling, chairman of Independent Chinese PEN Center, an organization of writers that fights for freedom of expression, told Apple Daily that the only purpose of Cheung and Lui in returning to Hong Kong was to ask the police to drop their cases.
The reason they were allowed to return to Hong Kong is to show that they are not “missing”, Bei said, adding that their families are in Shenzhen.
Cheung, Lui, Gui, Lee and Lam were reported missing last year.
All five were involved with Mighty Current Media, parent of Causeway Bay Books which has published titles critical of China and its leaders.
Richard Choi Yiu-cheong, vice chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, said he fears the booksellers might be facing pressure from mainland authorities to get their cases closed in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong police will only consider the matter closed after everyone returns to the city, reports said earlier.
– Contact us at [email protected]