A letter allegedly written by Lee Bo, co-owner of a Hong Kong bookstore who went missing on December 30, has been published by Taiwanese official media.
Taiwan’s Central News Agency reported on Monday night that a bookstore employee, Mr Chan, received a fax from Lee, a shareholder of Causeway Bay Books. Lee was last seen at the store’s warehouse in Chai Wan.
In the alleged letter, Lee said: “Since I am in urgent need to handle the related issue, and as it cannot be told to the outside world, I have returned to the mainland by my own method to assist the investigation by related authorities – it may take some time.”
Lee asked Chan to continue running the bookstore, adding that “my current situation is good, everything is normal”.
RTHK reported that Lee’s wife, Sophie Choi, has been to the North Point police station to cancel the missing person report she filed for Lee. However, according to police procedures, a missing person report can only be cancelled by the missing person.
Police told the radio station that Hong Kong Island’s regional missing persons unit is pursuing the case along with three other missing person reports related to Causeway Bay Books.
The bookstore is popular among mainland tourists as they can buy titles which are banned in China.
‘Against the Basic Law’
Five staff of the bookstore have been reported missing since October last year. One was last seen in Thailand and three were last seen in Shenzhen.
The case of Lee Bo sparked concerns that mainland law enforcement agencies were operating in Hong Kong. Thus far, there have been two protests organised by pan-democratic parties at the China Liaison Office demanding answers.
On Monday, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said that only local law enforcement agencies have the authority to enforce law in Hong Kong under the Basic Law, and no other law enforcement agencies outside of Hong Kong have such authority.
Leung said that the government is very concerned about the incident, and also about the rights and safety of local residents outside Hong Kong.
“It is unacceptable if mainland legal agencies enforced law in Hong Kong as it is against the Basic Law,” he added.
The alleged letter:
Since I am in urgent need to handle the related issue, and as it cannot be told to the outside world, I have returned to the mainland by my own method to assist the investigation by related authorities – it may take some time.
Please continue to run the bookstore as per contract, you can contact my wife for the payments due for books, or you can pay them, and clear the amount when I come back.
My current situation is good, everything is normal. Please kindly handle the things at the bookstore, many thanks!