Talks with Beijing over bookseller’s allegations
A SENIOR Hong Kong delegation will head to Beijing for talks following explosive revelations by a bookseller who said he was detained for eight months on the mainland, the city’s leader said yesterday.
Lam Wing-kee, 61, has said he was seized after crossing the border into the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, taken away blindfolded and then kept in a cell without access to a lawyer for alleged involvement in bringing banned books into the mainland.
The case has laid bare growing anxiety that the semi-autonomous city’s freedoms are disappearing.
Mr Lam was one of five employees of a Hong Kong firm – which published gossipy books about leading Chinese politicians – to go mysteriously missing last year. All later emerged in mainland China.
Hong Kong’s Beijing-backed chief executive Leung Chun-ying said a team of senior officials would visit Beijing today to discuss Mr Lam’s case and review the “existing notification mechanism between the two places”.
Under that mechanism, authorities on the mainland are required to give clear details about arrests and detentions of Hong Kong citizens over the border, a procedure critics say went disastrously wrong in the booksellers’ case.
“[Officials] will go to Beijing ... [and] meet with relevant departments in order to improve the existing mechanism,” Mr Leung told reporters.
He added mainland authorities would also brief the Hong Kong officials, including the city’s justice and security ministers as well as heads of police and immigration, on Mr Lam’s case.
Mr Lam was due to lead a pro-democracy march on July 1 to mark the 19th anniversary of the city’s handover from Britain to China, but pulled out at the last minute citing a “serious threat” to his security. – People ride in a traditional boat during a dolphin-watching excursion at sunrise in the waters off Lovina beach in Singaraja on Bali island yesterday. Dolphin watching is one of the more popular activities near Lovina beach, a thriving tourist destination on the northern coast of Bali island.