The bookstore at the centre of the incident surrounding five booksellers who disappeared, only to reemerge in China, will re-open in Taiwan, says returnee Lam Wing-kee.

Lam, who returned to Hong Kong in June 2016 claiming that he had been kidnapped and illegally detained in the mainland, told Nikkei that there was a “90 per cent” chance that Causeway Bay Books would re-open in the second half of this year.

Causeway Bay Books. Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

Lam told the Japanese outlet that he would serve as an adviser, but would not run the daily operations of the new shop.

He added that some Hong Kong pro-democracy activists – who wished to remain anonymous over safety concerns – provided the funding for the new store.

“The only thing is to find the right people and place,” he said, calling the new store a symbol of resistance.

Press freedom

He told Nikkei that Hong Kong’s protections for freedom of press and publication were “incomparable” with that in Taiwan.

Causeway Bay Books was known for publishing politically sensitive titles banned in mainland China. Pro-democracy activists said that the five booksellers were warned about an upcoming title documenting the private life of Chinese President Xi Jinping before they vanished.

Lam Wing-kee. Photo: HKFP.

One bookseller – Swedish national Gui Minhai – remains detained after having disappeared while vacationing in Thailand. He “confessed” to evading a suspended two-year sentence handed down over a decade ago for a drink driving death.

Booksellers Lee Bo, Cheung Chi-ping and Lui Por were released back to Hong Kong, but have not spoken publicly about their experiences.


Elson Tong

Elson Tong is a graduate of international relations and former investigations consultant. He has also written for Stand News.