Returned bookseller Lam Wing-kee said mainland authorities previously revealed to him that once fellow publisher Gui Minhai has been sentenced, the incident will come to an end and the remaining booksellers will be released one by one.

However, Lam said he believed it was necessary to urge the Hong Kong government to follow up on the case.

lam wing kee
Lam Wing-kee’s interview with NowTV. Photo: NowTV screenshot.

Lam, the founder and later manager of Causeway Bay Books, was one of the five booksellers who went missing last year. The store sells political titles banned in China. Lam’s co-workers, Lui Por and Cheung Chi-ping, are currently on the mainland, and Lam previously said that Gui, a Swedish national, is still detained in Ningbo.

Lam has been under police protection since last weekend but attended an interview with Now TV on Tuesday accompanied by police officers. Lam said that he believes he is safe for now.

Cheung Chi-ping Lui Por
Cheung Chi-ping and Lui Por. Photo: Phoenix TV screenshot.

“At least there’s two people watching over me… last time there was a problem because I went to my sister’s house from the Legislative Council and I was followed, so I was quite worried,” Lam said at the interview.

“Gui may be sentenced [between] September to December, and when there’s a verdict my co-workers may be all right. They’re all now on bail awaiting trial. Back then, a interrogator named Shi told me in private that the main person is Gui Minhai, as he might know the writer [of the banned books] and he would have knowledge of how the writer came to get his hands on the information,” Lam added.

Gui Minhai
Gui Minhai. Photo: CCTV screencap.

See also: Questions raised after missing HK bookseller ‘confesses’ to drink-driving death on state TV

Lam, who was accused of operating an illegal business, admitted to conducting transactions of over HK$100,000 using a mainland account in 2013.

“I supposedly broke the law, but I did it in Hong Kong. How did I break it in China? I was just captured in mainland. The most that I did was settling the transaction online – that point… is controversial.” Lam said that even if he had to go to the mainland, at least the authorities should have to go through proper legal procedures.

HK government ‘incompetent’

Top officials from Hong Kong embarked upon a trip to Beijing last Tuesday to discuss the decade-old communication mechanism between Beijing and Hong Kong. During a meeting with the Public Security Bureau, video footage of Lam’s daily life during his eight-month detention in China was shown to the officials.

lam wing kee press con
Top officials visited Beijing last week.

Lam said the only progress made during the trip was in relation to the communication mechanism and criticised the Hong Kong government for being incompetent. He also said that they did not do their best to protect Hong Kong people.

Lam said that he has fulfilled his responsibilities and wished to return to everyday life; what happens next would depend on Hongkongers. “If you don’t settle the matter today, it’ll happen again in the future… Today there is Lee Bo, but tomorrow [there may be another Lee Bo].”

Karen cheung hong kong

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.