Missing Hong Kong bookseller's wife drops police report

HONG KONG -- The mystery surrounding five missing Hong Kong booksellers known for titles banned in mainland China deepened after one purportedly wrote a letter saying he was fine and helping with an investigation on the mainland, prompting his wife to drop a missing person's report.

See Full Article

Hong Kong police said Lee Bo's wife cancelled the report but they would continue investigating the other disappearances. Their statement late Monday didn't say whether Lee had been located.

Five people who vanished since October are associated with publisher Mighty Current, which specializes in books critical of China's Communist Party leaders.

Their disappearances have prompted fears that Beijing is eroding the "one country, two systems" principle that's been in place since Britain ceded control of Hong Kong to China in 1997, maintaining civil liberties there that are nonexistent on the mainland, including freedom of the press.

When Lee vanished last Wednesday, he reportedly did not have a travel permit for mainland China with him, triggering speculation he did not plan to go there and that Chinese security agents abducted him. The four others were last seen either in mainland China or Thailand.

An image of Lee's handwritten letter was published by Taiwan's government-affiliated Central News Agency late Monday and subsequently by Hong Kong media.

The letter, faxed to an employee at the publishing company's Causeway Bay Bookstore in Hong Kong, said: "Due to some urgent matters that I need to handle and that aren't to be revealed to the public, I have made my own way back to the mainland in order to co-operate with the investigation by relevant parties."

"It might take a bit of time," it said. "My current situation is very well. All is normal."

The letter gave no details on the investigation to which it refers.

Britain's Foreign Office confirmed by email that one of the missing booksellers is British, and Hong Kong media report it is Lee. The email said Britain was "deeply concerned" about the case and has "urgently requested" help from local authorities for information on the individual.

Hong Kong police still have missing person's files open for three other staff members or shareholders of the publisher or the bookstore. One of the publishing company's owners, Gui Minhai, is a Swedish national who went missing in Thailand in October, according to Hong Kong media and human rights groups.

Swedish Foreign Ministry spokesman Joakim Edvardsson said Monday the government was "very concerned" about the disappearance of one of its citizens.

Hong Kong media reported that Lee's wife, Choi Ka-ping, asked police to drop the missing person's report after learning of the letter, the authenticity of which could not be independently confirmed. Choi's phone number was written on the fax, but calls to her by The Associated Press went unanswered.

Hong Kong pro-democracy lawmakers and human rights activists were skeptical the letter proved Lee was safe.

"If he did indeed write the letter, it was almost certainly written under duress," said William Nee, Amnesty International's China researcher. "What we see in mainland China all the time is that police and state security put enormous pressure on family members not to speak to media and not to raise a fuss on social media. If indeed it was state security that detained Lee Bo, one wonders whether the same tactics are being used to silence family members here in Hong Kong."

China's nationalist newspaper Global Times slammed the bookshop in an editorial Monday for "profiting on political rumours" and selling books with "trumped-up content."

"Although the Causeway Bay Bookstore is located in Hong Kong, it actually stays in business by disrupting mainland society," the paper said.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Protesters ejected from Turkish president's New York speech

    World News CTV News
    NEW YORK -- A demonstrator who got up and shouted "Terrorist!" at Turkey's president during a speech at a hotel on Thursday was grabbed by bodyguards and rushed out of the hall as others in the emotional crowd pushed, shoved and shouted. Source
  • Mexico shocked by news: Girl trapped in rubble didn't exist

    World News CTV News
    MEXICO CITY -- Hour after excruciating hour, Mexicans were transfixed by dramatic efforts to reach a young girl thought buried in the rubble of a school destroyed by a magnitude 7.1 earthquake. She reportedly wiggled her fingers, told rescuers her name and said there were others trapped near her. Source
  • Use of force 'appears to be justified' in video of police shooting, former SIU director says

    Canada News CBC News
    A shooting by a Toronto police officer to stop a brutal and prolonged stabbing attack last week appears to be justified, says a former director of Ontario's police watchdog, based on his viewing of video of the incident that is making the rounds on social media. Source
  • Former Australian PM says he was head-butted after anti-gay marriage event

    World News CTV News
    CANBERRA, Australia -- Australia's prime minister on Friday urged restraint in the nation's same-sex marriage debate after a former prime minister who gave the people a direct say in the divisive issue said he was head-butted by a gay rights advocate while walking in a city street. Source
  • Canada sending bomb disposal experts to Iraq to train security forces

    Canada News CBC News
    A handful of Canadian army combat engineers will soon be in Iraq to train local security forces in the finer points of detecting and defusing roadside bombs, the Liberal government announced Thursday. An advance team has already been sent to observe the kind of instruction being given under a NATO program that was announced at the Warsaw Summit in the summer of 2016, but only established in earlier this year. Source
  • Quebec suspect charged with murder in Amber Alert case out of coma: lawyer

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL - A man who fled authorities last week with his six-year-old boy and who was later charged in the slaying of the child's mother is close to being released from hospital, his lawyer said Thursday. Source
  • Trump's Strange test: Alabama Senate runoff puts president in tricky spot

    World News CTV News
    MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- It's Trump versus Trumpland. U.S. President Donald Trump's political muscles are getting a workout in a Republican runoff election in Alabama that has an awkward dynamic: He's campaigning for the establishment-backed incumbent over an upstart beloved by many of his own most ardent supporters, including his former chief strategist Steve Bannon. Source
  • May to urge new partnership, transition period for Brexit

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- Prime Minister Theresa May will try to kick-start faltering Brexit negotiations on Friday by proposing a new economic and security partnership between Britain and the European Union, plus a transition period after the U.K. Source
  • Quebec Crown says evidence insufficient for charges in 1991 death of Val-d'Or Cree woman

    Canada News CBC News
    Quebec's Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP) says it does not have enough evidence to pursue criminal charges in the 1991 death of a 24-year-old Cree woman in Val-d'Or, Quebec. The decision follows new inquiries conducted by Sûreté du Québec investigators earlier this year in and around the city situated 600 kilometres northwest of Montreal. Source
  • Tamara Lovett says she has abandoned the 'natural' remedy belief system that killed her son

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    Tamara Lovett said Thursday she no longer adheres to the belief system which led her to treat her dying son with oil of oregano and dandelion tea. A teary Lovett told her Court of Queen's Bench sentencing hearing she now knows what she was doing in treating her son, Ryan, was wrong. Source