Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun said he and returned bookseller Lam Wing-kee had been followed at least twice over the past week.

The party’s lawmakers quoted Lam as saying on July 1 that the reason he did not attend the annual pro-democracy march last Friday was that he felt a serious threat to his personal safety after being followed by strangers.

To has been one of the lawmakers driving Lam around the city. He said on a RTHK programme on Monday that they were followed last Thursday morning, when he drove Lam to the police headquarters in Wan Chai for a meeting with the police.

Lam Wing-kee
James To and Lam Wing-kee. Photo: Gene Lin/HKFP.

“We were followed from our starting point [where Lam was picked up],” he said. Media knew of the meeting and were already waiting at the destination. “We were followed till the doorstep of the police headquarters… they were gone when we stopped at the lay-by spot.”

When Lam missed the march last Friday, he was moved to a “safe place.” To said they were followed during the move as well.

To said he has given all the information including licence plate numbers of the followers to the police. The police have expressed concern, he added, as they have given some safety advice and have taken statements from the witnesses.

“They were concerned, so it would not be police following us… and it would not be media as they were waiting for us already,” he said.

democracy july 1
The 2016 July 1st democracy rally. Photo: PH Yang.

To said he was still in contact with Lam through messages but will avoid meeting Lam face-to-face as they may be followed again.

“[Lam] is not too worried if he does not leave his place, but he does not know how long it has to be [to ensure his safety],” he said.

Lam was scheduled to meet the police again on Tuesday, as To said he expected it will take several more hours for Lam to finish giving evidence on the events after his disappearance.

“One possibility is that the police will go to a certain spot to take statements. That is the safest,” he said.

To added that the police should protect him, at least until his statements were completed.

Lee Bo
Lee Bo. Photo: Phoenix TV screenshot.

Lam went missing from Shenzhen last October. He returned to Hong Kong in mid-June and hosted a surprise press conference exposing the details of his detention. Lam said he was blindfolded and handcuffed when he was taken from Shenzhen to Ningbo for five months of solitary confinement, until he was sent to Shaoguan to work in a library without freedom of movement.

He said that during the eight months on the mainland, he was under the control of a Chinese special unit, and he was only allowed to return to Hong Kong in order to retrieve a hard drive containing sensitive customer information of his bookstore, accompanied by two officers from the unit.

Lam was one of the five booksellers of Causeway Bay Books to disappear last year. When British national Lee Bo disappeared from the city, it sparked concerns over cross-border kidnapping and led to protests. The booksellers then reappeared on mainland television “confessing” to illegally sending books banned in China across the border.

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.