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

  • Cartoonists capture surreal side of Trump-Putin meeting

    World News CTV News
    “Bizarre.” “Shameful.” “Flat-out wrong.” That’s how three top Republicans described U.S. President Donald Trump’s comments during Monday’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Speaking in Helsinki, Trump cast doubt on U.S. intelligence findings that Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. Source
  • 'Luckiest son of a gun around' heads home after grizzly attack

    Canada News CBC News
    Jordan Carbery is celebrating, despite suffering a ripped scalp and a chewed abdomen. He knows it could have been worse. The park ranger from Bella Coola survived an angry grizzly bear attack on July 3 and after 14 days at Vancouver General Hospital he's heading home to Bella Coola, B.C. Source
  • 'Must be the intelligence agencies': Lights go out during Trump statement

    World News CTV News
    The lights go out as U.S. President Donald Trump, center, accompanied by House Ways and Means Committee chairman Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, left, and Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., right, speaks in the Cabinet room of the White House, Tuesday, July 17, 2018, in Washington. Source
  • Remains of Sweetgrass Kennedy, 4, found on banks of North Saskatchewan River

    Canada News CBC News
    RCMP say they have found the remains of a four-year-old boy who disappeared from Prince Albert in May. Sweetgrass Kennedy was last seen May 10, playing with a group of children on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River, according to Prince Albert police. Source
  • Mueller seeks immunity for 5 witnesses in Manafort case

    World News CBC News
    Special counsel Robert Mueller is seeking immunity for five potential witnesses in the upcoming trial of U.S. President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. Mueller's office told a federal judge in Virginia on Tuesday that they were seeking to compel the witnesses to testify under condition of immunity. Source
  • Ford says consultation on sex-ed curriculum will be largest in Ontario history

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Doug Ford says his government's consultations on a new sex-ed curriculum will be the largest in the history of Ontario education. The recently elected premier is scrapping the modernized version of the curriculum brought in by his Liberal predecessors and reverting to one introduced in 1998 while consultations are carried out for a new document. Source
  • Toronto police suspend officer after alleged leak during 'potential risk' probe

    Canada News CTV News
    Toronto police say they have suspended an officer for allegedly leaking information regarding a "potential risk" to public safety that was investigated last week. The force has said uncorroborated information about a potential risk in the Greater Toronto Area led them to increase their presence in the downtown core on Thursday, but also said the public didn't need to avoid the area. Source
  • Iceberg looming over Greenland village spotted from space

    World News CTV News
    BERLIN -- An iceberg that drifted perilously close to a remote Greenland village is so big it can be seen from space. The European Space Agency released an image Tuesday showing the giant iceberg just off the coast of Innaarsuit. Source
  • Head of U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says fentanyl almost killed his son

    World News CBC News
    The head of the top public health agency in the U.S. says the opioid epidemic will be one of his priorities, and he revealed a personal reason for it: His son almost died from taking cocaine contaminated with the powerful painkiller fentanyl. Source
  • Ammo disappears after struggle between Calgary cop, suspect

    Canada News CTV News
    Police in Calgary are searching for a handgun magazine that was pulled off an officer's belt during a skirmish with a suspected car prowler. The police service says two officers were called to a neighbourhood in the city's northeast on Monday evening and began questioning a man who matched the suspect's description. Source