Book chain Page One has confirmed that a memo calling upon its staff to avoid selling titles banned in China was fabricated. The company says they called police to investigate the matter.

On Tuesday, local newspaper Apple Daily alleged that General Manager of Page One Amanda To had issued an internal memo to staff on January 5. “We are declared to announce that due to the news of these days, we are avoid to selling the affected books all about the People’s Republic of China and Chinese Communist Party sensitive from now until further notice,” it read, in broken English.

The report has been removed from the Apple Daily website. Page One issued a public statement, saying the forged memo – which was posted widely on social media – was “untrue and misleading”.

page one memo
Internal memo that Page One confirmed to be fake.

“We strongly condemn the conducts of those persons and newspapers who forged, used or published such false document,” the Page One statement read.

page one statement
Public Statement issued by Page One. Photo: Page One, via Facebook.

Page One pulled politically sensitive titles from its shelves in early January after a shareholder of Causeway Bay Books went missing on December 30, the Guardian reported.

Causeway Bay Books is well-known among mainland tourists as a source for political titles banned in China. Four other members of staff from the store have been missing since October of last year.

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Photo: Todd Darling/HKFP.

A staff member from the Page One store at the Hong Kong International Airport said the store stopped selling politically sensitive books, such as the ones produced by the missing booksellers, the Guardian report said.

Opened by Mark Tan in Singapore in 1983, Page One is known for selling English-language titles in areas of design and art. Page One has seven branches in Hong Kong, of which five are located at the Hong Kong International Airport.

Koel Chu is a second-year journalism and fine arts student at the University of Hong Kong. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Koel is interested in the arts and urban design. She interned at China Radio International in Beijing and, at her university, she also works as Vice-President of Branding and Marketing in AIESEC, the largest youth-run organisation in the world.