Causeway Bay bookseller Lam Wing-kee, one of the five booksellers who vanished mysteriously last year, finally returned to Hong Kong on Tuesday and requested that police drop their investigation into his disappearance.
Lam is the fourth bookseller to be allowed to come back to the city. When his three associates returned to Hong Kong earlier, they made the exact same request and said that they did not need any help from police or the Hong Kong government.
“Lam Wing-kee requested [that] police cancel his missing person case and stated that he did not require any assistance from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government or police. He refused to disclose other details,” the department said in a statement.
A police source added that Lam entered Hong Kong via the Lo Wu checkpoint at 11.55am on Tuesday.
From October last year, five associates from the Mighty Current publishing house and its Causeway Bay Books store went missing one after another.
Gui Minhai went missing in October from Pattaya, Thailand. Lam, Lui Por and Cheung Chi-ping vanished in the same month while on the mainland. Lee Po disappeared from Hong Kong in December.
Their disappearances led to fears that they had been kidnapped by mainland agents because their companies specialised in books critical of the Chinese Communist Party.
A person close to the booksellers believed that Lam was the last – aside from Gui – to be allowed to return because he did not have family members on the mainland. The person said that Lui and Lee had also recently come back to the city to look at the finances of their companies.
Soon after the five went missing, they all surfaced on state-run media, saying that they had travelled to the mainland of their own free will.
Gui has been accused of ordering his associates to deliver about 4,000 banned books across the border since October 2014. He remains in detention.