A Hong Kong bookseller detained on the mainland returned to the city on Sunday morning and said he did not require any police or government assistance. He also requested the missing persons file on him be dropped.
The return of Cheung Chi-ping, one of five booksellers who went missing on the mainland last year, came two days after the return of his boss Lui Por, a general manager of Mighty Current, the publishing house which specialises in books critical of the Chinese Communist Party. Cheung worked as Lui’s assistant.
“Hong Kong Police met with [Cheung] who has returned to Hong Kong from the mainland,” an official police statement said.
“Police continue to follow through with the other two missing person cases with the Interpol Guangdong Liaison Office of Guangdong Provincial Public Security Department for further details,” the statement added.
Cheung’s and Lui’s sudden reappearance in Hong Kong and refusal to explain their mysterious disappearance in October last year has added to speculation that mainland authorities pressured them to keep their mouths shut.
Cheung, Lui and another associate, Lam Wing-kee, all went missing while on the mainland last October. In the same month, Mighty Current shareholder Gui Minhai vanished in unexplained circumstances while he was in Pattaya, Thailand.
Their associate Lee Po disappeared from Hong Kong in December, leading to fears that Chinese agents had kidnapped him in the city and raising concerns that the “one country, two systems” was under threat.
Lee appeared in the 20-minute interview aired by Phoenix TV and admitted he had sneaked into the mainland illegally to assist in an investigation into Gui. But Lee declined to elaborate, saying: “It’s not convenient to disclose the details.”
Lee also met with Hong Kong police in an undisclosed location on the same day on the mainland and had also asked them to drop his case. He added he did not need any help from the Hong Kong government and would return home when a mainland investigation involving his associate, Gui, was over.