Second missing bookseller back in HK

A protester in Hong Kong with placards showing some of the missing booksellers from the city’s Mighty Current publishing house, a publisher known for books critical of Beijing.
A protester in Hong Kong with placards showing some of the missing booksellers from the city’s Mighty Current publishing house, a publisher known for books critical of Beijing.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

HONG KONG • A second bookseller, missing since last October, has returned to the city, local media reported yesterday.

The return of Mr Cheung Chi Ping, one of five booksellers who went missing on the mainland last year, came two days after the return of his colleague Lui Por.

Mr Cheung returned to the city yesterday morning, according to Hong Kong police.

He asked that the police cancel his missing person case and said he did not need any help from the city's government or the police, reported broadcaster Radio Television Hong Kong on its website.

The police said he did not disclose any other details.

Mr Cheung worked as assistant to Mr Lui, a general manager of Mighty Current, a publishing house which specialises in books critical of the Chinese Communist Party.

The pair are among five men affiliated with the publisher who have turned up in the hands of mainland authorities after being reported missing.

The case of Mr Lee Bo, who did not pass through immigration checks before leaving Hong Kong in December, has led to suspicions that Chinese secret agents had abducted him from the city. But he said in an interview with Phoenix TV last week that he sneaked into the mainland to help Chinese authorities with an investigation.

He also said he did not need any help from the Hong Kong government and would return home when the investigation involving a fifth missing man, Gui Minhai, was over.

Chinese state media reported last week that Lui, Cheung and another Hong Kong resident Lam Wing Kee would be released on bail in "a few days'".

The fates of Lee and Gui, however, remain unclear.

The latter disappeared from his Thailand apartment in October and re-emerged in a televised confession in January that he had voluntarily turned himself in to mainland authorities over a fatal 2004 traffic accident. 

Gui, who has Swedish nationality, again appeared on Beijing-backed Phoenix TV last week.

He said he had avoided rules on importing books into China, partly by changing their covers and putting them in dark nylon bags to evade X-rays, according to Bloomberg news agency.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 07, 2016, with the headline 'Second missing bookseller back in HK'. Print Edition | Subscribe