Three of the Causeway Bay Bookstore publishers previously reported to be missing have been released on bail in China pending investigation for their alleged involvement in a case relating to Gui Minhai, the police announced on Wednesday evening.

The missing booksellers – Gui Minhai, Lee Bo, Lui Por, Lam Wing-kee, Cheung Chi-ping – all worked at Mighty Current Publishing and Causeway Bay Bookstore. The store sold political titles banned in China. Lee has been missing since December, and the others since October.

The five booksellers were reported to be missing since last year.

On Monday, mainland outlet The Paper reported that three of the booksellers, Lui, Lam and Cheung, admitted to “operating an illegal business” by distributing unauthorised books on the mainland under the instructions of Gui Minhai. However, due to their “good attitude”, the report said, they could be granted bail pending trial and return to Hong Kong soon.


Police said that they received a letter from the Interpol Guangdong Liaison Office of Guangdong Provincial Public Security Department on Wednesday afternoon, stating that the three booksellers were suspected to be involved in a case relating to “a person surnamed Gui” and that “compulsory measures were imposed on them earlier”. It is unclear whether those released on bail will now return home.

The police said that the families of the three booksellers have been notified, and that they will continue to follow up on the missing persons cases. They also said that they have written to mainland authorities to ask for more details.

The fifth publisher, Lee Bo, was not mentioned. Lee recently gave interviews with Chinese media, in which he said that he was not kidnapped and that he was giving up his British citizenship.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.