Hong Kong officials have ruled out any chance a local bookseller wanted in mainland China would be sent back after mainland authorities threatened him with tougher punishment if he did not return.
Security officials also said they would further investigate the case of Lam Wing-kee, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Lam’s revelations last month about being secretly arrested and interrogated in China over his company’s books rekindled fears Beijing is tightening its grip on Hong Kong.
Lam, who went missing last year, said he was allowed to return to Hong Kong in June on condition he bring back information about his bookshop’s customers.
Instead, he called a news conference to talk about his ordeal of being held for months in the city of Ningbo, near Shanghai, and vowed never to return to the mainland.
Lam was one of five men who worked for a Hong Kong publisher churning out racy books on China’s communist elite.
They operated their business legally in Hong Kong, which has wide autonomy and a separate legal system, but their books were banned in the mainland.
Lam and the others disappeared last year, only to turn up months later in the mainland, detained or involved in investigations.
Ningbo police warned Lam on Tuesday to return to the mainland, “otherwise they will be forced to take other legal measures”, according to WSJ, citing the official Xinhua news agency.
The police said Lam violated his bail terms by declaring his intention not to return to the mainland.
Hong Kong Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok said there is “no legal arrangement for the transfer of persons to the mainland authorities” because Hong Kong has no extradition agreement with the mainland.
– Contact us at [email protected]