The missing booksellers case may involve “state secrets,” pro-establishment lawmaker Paul Tse Wai-chun said, after speaking on the RTHK programme City Forum on Sunday.

One of the five booksellers, Lam Wing-kee, held a surprise press conference last Thursday. He claimed that he was arrested in Shenzhen in October last year and detained and ill-treated by a “special unit” separate from official mainland police.

“It may be related to not just publishing or sending books, but there may be state secrets being leaked through suspicious routes and the relevant law enforcement authorities may want to see how it came out. There may be also some fighting between the two factions,” said Tse. He said that this was a conclusion made according to his own common sense.

lam wing-kee
Lam Wing-kee. Photo: Gene Lin/HKFP.

“I just want to stress that this is the biggest danger that ‘One Country, Two Systems’ has faced up until now. Hongkongers’ bottom line for freedom is being challenged, this government should view this with great importance…,” said Tse. He also urged the government to establish notification mechanisms between the mainland and Hong Kong that it may have in its plans as soon as possible.

Paul Tse Wai-chun
Paul Tse Wai-chun. Photo: RTHK Screencap.

“I have not yet seen a very obvious or intentional breach of ‘One Country, Two Systems’ [in terms of] mainland authorities enforcing law in Hong Kong,” said Tse during City Forum. He also added that if there were mainland officers accompanying Lam to Hong Kong, if Lam was not arrested or locked up, it did not constitute mainland law enforcement in Hong Kong.

He said that he was against cross-border law enforcement but it was difficult to judge what happened because everybody had their own version of the story.

lam wing-kee protest
Protest in support of Lam Wing-kee. Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

Lam has faced a backlash after his press conference last Thursday, with colleagues saying that he was lying. Pro-establishment figures have said that Lam’s account was not the full story, while pro-democracy figures said that Lam’s experience show a violation of “One Country, Two Systems” and that Lam should be protected. Over the weekend, protesters also marched in support of Lam.

Chantal Yuen is a Hong Kong journalist interested in issues dealing with religion and immigration. She majored in German and minored in Middle Eastern studies at Princeton University.