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Tuesday, March 1, 2016, 17:27

Police probe into bookseller’s border crossing ‘will continue’

By Luis Liu / chinadailyasia.com

HONG KONG - Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has offered assurances that Hong Kong police will follow up the case of Lee Bo and other staff at Causeway Bay Books.

Security Secretary Lai Tung-kwok said police had requested additional information from the Interpol Guangdong liaison office of the Guangdong provincial public security department, concerning three other detained booksellers.

In an interview with Hong Kong-based Phoenix Television Monday night, Lee Bo said he had not been abducted, but had crossed into the mainland, by stealth, with the help of a friend and therefore required no travel documents.

A police officer and an immigration officer met with Lee Bo on Monday morning at an undisclosed location on the mainland.

During his television interview, Lee said he chose to make his clandestine crossing because he feared that his willing cooperation in a judicial investigation might bring reprisals against him or his family.

Lee said he chose to renounce his British citizenship and had notified British authorities accordingly, but this had served only to complicate the situation.

Lawmakers who have been questioning the affair felt some relief after seeing the interview. Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen said much of the suspicion on alleged cross-border arrests were resolved. However, having noticed some people in Hong Kong still had doubts, Leung hoped Lee Bo could reveal more when he came back to Hong Kong.

Another lawmaker, Ip Kwok-him, said the key issue had been resolved — that mainland officials were not enforcing laws in Hong Kong. As Lee might have smuggled himself to the mainland, Ip said it was up to the Immigration Department to decide whether to prosecute Lee.

Solicitor and legislator James To Kun-sun said that Hong Kong did not have a law on illegally leaving the SAR. To said the government needed to collect more evidence.

Although Lee Bo’s wife had requested the Hong Kong police to close the case, Commissioner of Police Stephen Lo Wai-chung said the force was still investigating. It will meet with Lee after he returns to the city.

Four Hong Kong booksellers, who are subject to criminal investigation by mainland authorities, appeared on Phoenix TV on Sunday. Appearing remorseful and sometimes tearful, they recounted details of smuggling illicit books into the mainland.

One of the four booksellers, Gui Minhai, a Swedish citizen, confessed he had “explored ways to circumvent official inspections at the border”.

In their first appearances since their detainment, fellow booksellers Cheung Chi-ping, Lui Por and Lam Wing-kee blamed Gui for the bookstore’s illicit book trade.

luisliu@chinadailyhk.com
 
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