- Title: Hong Kong security chief says no legal way to return bookseller to China
- Date: 6th July 2016
- Summary: HONG KONG, CHINA (JULY 6, 2016) (REUTERS) ***WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** CHIEF EXECUTIVE, LEUNG CHUN-YING, WALKING TO NEWS CONFERENCE HONG KONG EMBLEM (SOUNDBITE) (English) SECRETARY FOR SECURITY, LAI TUNG-KWOK, SAYING: "We act in accordance to the Hong Kong law and there is no legal arrangement for the transfer of a person to the mainland authorities, and the Hong Kong government will handle all cases in accordance with the laws of Hong Kong." MEDIA FILMING (SOUNDBITE) (Cantonese) CHIEF EXECUTIVE, LEUNG CHUN-YING, SAYING: "The special administration region's government and I place great importance and pay close attention to the issues raised by Mr. Lam Wing-kee on his personal safety."
- Embargoed: 20th July 2016 07:08
- Keywords: legal China bookseller chief security Hong Kong
- Location: HONG KONG AND BEIJING AND UNKNOWN LOCATION, CHINA
- City: HONG KONG AND BEIJING AND UNKNOWN LOCATION, CHINA
- Country: China
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0014PJSOXX
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Hong Kong's security chief said on Wednesday (July 6) that there was no legal way a Hong Kong bookseller who returned to the city after being detained on the mainland could be sent back to China.
Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok's comments came after a one-day trip to Beijing to meet with officials, after five Hong Kong booksellers who went missing last year later surfaced in mainland Chinese custody.
One of the booksellers, Lam Wing-kee, returned to Hong Kong last month and held a press conference detailing his months of captivity and repeated interrogations by mainland agents.
A mainland Chinese law enforcement body on Tuesday (July 5) said that Lam had violated his bail terms and criminal enforcement measures would be triggered by his failure to return. It did not specify what those measures might entail.
Lai said at a news conference on Wednesday that a formal request for Lam's return to China had not been discussed at the meeting in Beijing.
"We act in accordance to the Hong Kong law and there is no legal arrangement for the transfer of a person to the mainland authorities, and the Hong Kong government will handle all cases in accordance with the laws of Hong Kong," Lai said.
Hong Kong officials pledged to provide any necessary police protection for Lam, who said he had been followed by strangers and feared for his safety. The officials said the vehicle that was reportedly following Lam was rented by the media.
Hong Kong's Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said at the same briefing that the region will pay close attention to Lam's personal safety issues.
"The special administration region's government and I place great importance and pay close attention to the issues raised by Mr. Lam Wing-kee on his personal safety," Leung said.
State broadcaster CCTV put out footage during the meeting on Tuesday showing Lam 's confession.
"As I have violated China's legal provisions, I deeply regret it. (I) hope after this incident, the Chinese government can deal with it leniently, because I'm sure that I will not let this happen again in the future," Lam said.
The controversy surrounding the Hong Kong booksellers erupted last year when the five men associated with the Causeway Bay Books store disappeared. The store had specialized in gossipy books about China's leaders, including President Xi Jinping. Such books are banned on the mainland but legal in Hong Kong.
Two of the men, Gui Minhai and Lee Bo, held Swedish and British passports and went missing in Thailand and Hong Kong, respectively.
Thousands have taken to the streets in Hong Kong following the men's disappearance, saying that Beijing has not abided by the "one country, two systems" arrangement by which it agreed to rule Hong Kong for 50 years.
Hong Kong officials said they would hold another meeting with their mainland Chinese counterparts at the end of the month to discuss the notification process for when Hong Kong residents are detained in the mainland.
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