Mainland authorities have not asked their Hong Kong counterparts to hand over returned bookseller Lam Wing-kee, top officials have said.
Their comments came after a trip to Beijing on Tuesday discussing the decade-old communication mechanism between Beijing and Hong Kong. China’s Public Security Bureau has urged Lam to return to the mainland for investigation after he jumped bail, saying Lam may be subjected to unspecified criminal compulsory measures.
Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok said that there was no extradition agreement between Hong Kong and the mainland on the surrender of fugitive offenders. “No such [extradition] request was made at the meeting,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
“Any criminal compulsory measures applied on the mainland do not have legal validity in Hong Kong.”
Lam said in an exclusive interview with Ming Pao published Wednesday that he suspects that he was followed six times since he came back to Hong Kong in mid-June. He also said that the stalking worsened in recent days and they are now following him “without restraint.”
However, acting police commissioner Tony Wong Chi-hung said that, after investigation, they found that the vehicle following Lam that day was rented by the media. He also said that a witness told them that there was “nothing out of the ordinary.”
“We realised that what he claimed was not coherent with what we found after investigation,” Wong said.
But Wong added that the police were willing to provide protection to Lam if he was willing to accept it, as Lam had expressed concerns over his safety.
Video footage of Lam shot during his eight-month detention in China was shown to Hong Kong officials in Beijing during their meeting with the Public Security Bureau on Tuesday. It showed Lam’s daily life in his detention cell. Lam also “confessed” to his alleged crimes in sending “banned” books to Chinese customers in the video, without the presence of a lawyer.
After his return to Hong Kong, last month on bail conditions, he said that his confessions were forced.
“After we saw the video, we still think the Hong Kong police should carry on with their investigation,” Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung said. “In other words, to continue seeking the truth that we want to know.”
Yuen added that the police would investigate the content of the video and Lam’s words after his return to Hong Kong.
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said the meeting in Beijing on Tuesday has achieved some “initial results” with regards to reviewing the existing communication mechanism. The mechanism was deployed to notify Hong Kong should if any Hongkongers were detained on the mainland, or vice-versa.
Leung said the parties in the meeting agreed that the time for notification could be reduced to under 14 days, the details of the cases involved should be clearer, and the number of methods to notify the authorities in both places should be increased. He said that all authorities should be notified.
Another meeting will be hosted at the end of July, Leung added.