Labour Party lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan will put forward an urgent question in the Legislative Council (LegCo) on the missing bookseller who disappeared from Hong Kong. Four other staff of the same publisher had previously been reported missing.

Lee Bo, a shareholder in Causeway Bay Books, went missing on December 30. The bookstore, established in 1994, is known for selling controversial books about Chinese political gossip and scandal. The store is popular among mainland tourists as they can buy titles which are banned in China.

Lee is the fifth person from Hong Kong-based publisher Mighty Current, which owns the store, to disappear in recent months. He was last seen at the publisher’s warehouse in Chai Wan.

Lee’s wife Sophie Choi told local media that he then called her from a Shenzhen number speaking Mandarin – although they usually communicate in Cantonese – saying that “I am assisting in an investigation, I will not come back so soon.” Lee’s home return permit, a document which allows Hong Kong residents to enter China, was still at his home.

Lee Bo, a shareholder of the Causeway Bay Books, went missing on December 30.

Lee Cheuk-yan said on a Commercial Radio programme on Monday morning that he hoped LegCo president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing would accept his submission, so that he can demand an oral answer from Hong Kong government officials in Wednesday’s meeting.

He added that the government did not seem concerned about the missing publishing staff, and it had not tried as hard as possible to confirm whether Lee Po was currently in mainland China.

Lee Cheuk-yan, also the secretary of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, said that the incident may be related to books to be published on “national secrets” or struggles between different political factions in mainland China, and the staff went missing because the mainland authorities were enraged.

Lee Cheuk-yan. File

Active investigations

Acting Secretary for Security John Lee told local media on Sunday that the police were still actively investigating, and it was not appropriate to draw any conclusions just yet.

He said that the police were reviewing all the CCTV footage in the surrounding area of the location where the missing person was last seen. They will examine who he communicated with in the period before he was discovered missing so as to ascertain the background and the actual facts of the case.

“If there is any indication that the missing person has surfaced at a location outside Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Police will take action to verify that information with the local law enforcement agency,” Lee said.

Gui Minhai’s passport.

Foreign citizens

Meanwhile, the daughter of Gui Minhai, one of the staff who went missing in Thailand in October last year, sought assistance from police in the UK, where she is studying, Ming Pao reported.

She told the newspaper that she had met Lee a few times, and he was a nice person. She said that she felt shocked and sorry after he went missing.

She said that Lee once told her that he was a British citizen, so she reported the case to the UK police, who told her that they were following up on the case.

Gui is a Swedish citizen, according to an identity document acquired by Apple Daily.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.