Hong Kong publisher says mainland police entered HK to question him

Publisher says mainland police questioned him on Hong Kong (Photo by South China Morning Post)

Publisher says mainland police questioned him on Hong Kong (Photo by South China Morning Post)

JISHOU, HUNAN — As the saying goes, the plot thickens, as more details slowly come out about the five Hong Kong booksellers who disappeared, only to reappear on the mainland. One of their friends says mainland police questioned him — in Hong Kong — about the five men’s activities.

Thing is, by treaty, mainland police are not supposed to have jurisdiction in HK, a Special Autonomous Region (SAR) of greater China.

Hong Kong residents have suspected that the five men, who published and sold sensational books about corrupt Chinese Communist Party officials, were apprehended in Thailand, mainland China and Hong Kong by mainland security bureau agents late last year. They later resurfaced in Guangdong Province on the mainland, under mysterious circumstances.

Hong Kong police say no mainland agents entered the SAR, but a friend of the five booksellers told the South China Morning Post (SCMP) that he was questioned at length on three occasions by three officers from the Guangdong State Security Department about the five men.

Lau Tat-man, 65, also told the Post that security agents in Dongguan, Guangdong, detained his wife while she visiting there, and questioned her for four hours about the publishing business.

The Post stated that it has been unable to corroborate Lau’s story.

Under the terms of the British return of Hong Kong to the mainland government in 1997, the two jurisdictions were to operate under a “one country, two systems” policy. Part of the agreement specified that mainland police had no jurisdiction in Hong Kong SAR or over HK citizens when they are not on the mainland. The policy also affirmed that the Beijing government would honor the civil rights enjoyed by Hong Kong residents, including free speech and free press.

A similar policy is in place for Macau SAR, a former Portuguese colony which has the only legal casinos in China.

Lau told the Post that the security agents accused him of encouraging the five booksellers to print their sensational books, one of which featured Chinese President Xi Jinping. That may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.

[POSTSCRIPT: The SCMP’s new owner, Alibaba, has taken down the paywall, so all of the Post is available free with no limitations. On the down side, mainland Internet censors are blocking the SCMP website, because of its Panama Papers coverage.]

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