Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said that there was no definite deadline for answers from mainland authorities regarding the missing booksellers. "Sometimes it takes longer … for mainland authorities to respond on cases like these," said Leung, who is currently at an all-time low in his approval rating. "This case was reported to the Hong Kong police on January 1, and it has been 11 days since then, but there were cases in the past which took longer for mainland authorities to respond to."
Yesterday was originally stated as the deadline for a response from Beijing on the whereabouts of missing bookseller Lee Bo. Under the arrangement between Hong Kong and Beijing, mainland law enforcement agencies must notify Hong Kong's police within 14 days if they arrest any Hong Kong resident. Lee disappeared on December 30.
Lawmaker Albert Ho Chun-yan believes mainland authorities are struggling to decide what they should do next. If they tell Hong Kong police that Lee was indeed being held across the border, they have to explain how he got there, Ho said on Monday.
"And don't forget that other booksellers have already been missing for longer than 14 days. The mainland has not notified Hong Kong on those cases," he said, referring to four associates of Lee who have also vanished.
Lee runs Mighty Current Media, which specialises in books critical of Beijing politicians. His disappearance has made people speculate that mainland agents kidnapped him from Hong Kong, something that would be illegal.