Hong Kong bookseller Lam Wing-kee, who went missing last year and resurfaced after an eight-month detention in China, said he was told by officials to keep a record of people who buy banned books from his bookstore.
Causeway Bay Books, a publisher of books critical of the Chinese elite, had been transferred to a new owner, Chan Hin-shing, in November last year, Lam said.
The deal included a two-year lease on the premises at HK$39,000 a month, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
However, authorities in Beijing had expected Lam to continue to work in the bookstore following his release after telling him to spy on his customers, he said in a lengthy article published in Initium, an online media portal.
Lam said he was told to report his findings to a person, surnamed Shi, who works in the “Central Case Examination Group”.
Lam said he and four colleagues in Mighty Current Media Ltd., which operated the bookstore, were taken to the mainland and detained for publishing banned materials.
He said he refused to cooperate, Apple Daily reports.
Lam, who has been under Hong Kong police protection since his return, said he hopes his article will inspire others to stand up to China.
He urged Hongkongers to speak out and oppose Beijing’s attempts to tinker with “one country, two systems”.
Choi Yiu-cheong, vice chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, said Beijing’s takeover of the bookstore and its attempts to use Lam to spy on Hongkongers show it is trying to enforce its laws in Hong Kong.
Such cross-border application of mainland laws is prohibited by the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution.
Political commentator Johnny Lau said Beijing has been collecting information about Hong Kong people through various channels.
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