Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has urged Lee Bo, the missing Hong Kong bookseller, to come forward, after an alleged letter from Lee emerged on Monday.
A letter, allegedly written by Lee Bo, co-owner of Causeway Bay Books, who went missing in Chai Wan on December 30, has been published by the Taiwanese state news agency, the Central News Agency. In the alleged letter, Lee said that “I have returned to the mainland by my own method to assist the investigation by related authorities” and that “my current situation is good, everything is normal”.
Leung said that the case was still being investigated. “I hope anyone, especially Lee Bo himself, can provide relevant information,” he said.
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.
Leung added that the missing persons cases have been consolidated and are being pursued together.
“We will try our best to investigate,” he said. “Only when the police have some leads can they piece together the key information as soon as possible.”
He restated the government’s position that it is “very concerned”, but he said it cannot release all the information about the case in order not to hamper the investigation.
On Monday, Lee’s wife, Sophie Choi, went to the North Point police station to request the cancellation of the missing person report she had filed for Lee. However, according to police procedures, a missing person report can only be cancelled by the missing person.
Leung did not comment on the alleged letter and Choi’s request to cancel the report.
Causeway Bay Books is popular among mainland tourists as they can buy titles there which are banned in China.
The police have said that there was no record of Lee Bo departing from Hong Kong and Lee’s wife has said that his home return permit was still at home.
The case of Lee Bo has sparked concerns that mainland law enforcement agencies are operating in Hong Kong. Thus far, there have been two protests organised by pan-democratic parties at the China Liaison Office, demanding answers.
On January 2, the Independent Commentators Association and the Hong Kong Journalists Association sent joint letters expressing their concerns to the Director of the China Liaison Office, Zhang Xiaoming, the Head of Guangdong Provincial Public Security Department, Li Chunsheng, and the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Raymond Tam Chi-yuen.
Lee Bo is reportedly a British citizen. British officials are “urgently investigating” whether he is a UK passport holder, the Guardian reported.