Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying says he will write to the Chinese authorities to express Hong Kong’s concern over the missing booksellers incident.
Leung made the remarks in a hastily called meeting with reporters on Monday, just days after one of the booksellers spoke out about his ordeal and warned Hongkongers about their own security, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Leung emerged from a 10-day vacation to address public concerns over the five booksellers from Causeway Bay Bookstore who disappared last year and later emerged in mainland China.
Lam Wing-kee, one of the five men, revealed how he and his colleagues were abducted by the Chinese police and held against their will.
Leung said the Hong Kong police have contacted Lam to try to hear what he has to say about the incident.
He said it is neither acceptable nor legal for anyone to come to Hong Kong from outside to engage in law enforcement activities.
However, he did not say whether he believes Lam’s story.
Democratic Party lawmaker Albert Ho criticized Leung’s reluctance to directly bring up the matter with Beijing, according to Time magazine.
“I am both surprised and disappointed to note that up to this moment, the chief executive still takes the view that there is no necessity for him to take up this matter directly with Beijing,” Ho said.
“The bookseller case has posed one of the greatest challenges to Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy,” Time quotes him as saying.
Hong Kong people are concerned about the implications of the incident for rule of law and free speech given the booksellers’ link to material openly critical of Beijing’s political elite.
At the same press conference with Leung, Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok refused to say whether the government will allow sales and customer records of Causeway Bookstore and publisher Mighty Current Media to be released to the Chinese authorities.
Meanwhile, pan-democrats have launched a signature campaign to force the government to give a full account of the incident and press the Legislative Council to conduct its own inquiry.
Swedish Consul General Helena Storm told HKEJ on Monday that her government is “seriously dealing with” the detention of Gui Minhai, a naturalized Swedish citizen who is the last of the booksellers still held in the mainland.
In May, Gui’s daughter told a congressional panel in Washington that she had been barred from seeing her father and that he had not been allowed consular assistance from the Swedish government.
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