Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has said only local legal enforcement agencies have the authority to enforce law in Hong Kong under the Basic Law, and no other law enforcement agencies outside of Hong Kong have such authority.
Leung called a press conference, with only an hour’s notice given beforehand, in response to the disappearance of five staff of a Hong Kong bookstore. The press conference was arranged as “it has been said that the incident may involve mainland legal enforcement agencies enforcing law in Hong Kong,” he said.
The bookstore is popular among mainland tourists as they can buy titles which are banned in China.
“The freedom of the press, the freedom of publication and the freedom of expression are protected by laws in Hong Kong,” Leung said.
Leung said that the government is very concerned about the incident, and also about the rights and safety of local residents outside Hong Kong.
“It is unacceptable if mainland legal agencies enforced law in HK as it is against the Basic Law,” he added.
However, Leung stated that there is “no indication” that mainland legal agencies have enforced law in Hong Kong.
Searching for leads
Acting Secretary for Security John Lee Ka-chiu said the police had received reports of four missing Hong Kong residents, with the latest missing person last seen in Hong Kong.
“The police have consolidated the investigations, and [it] is now conducted by the missing person unit, with the support of crime formations,” Lee said.
He added that the police actively conducted investigations into this missing person report, and they have finished examining CCTV footage around the location where the missing person was last seen. They are now expanding the coverage to see whether there will be other leads.
The police will investigate those people whom the missing were last in touch with, he said.
Lee Bo, a shareholder in Causeway Bay Books, went missing on December 30. He was last seen at the publisher’s warehouse in Chai Wan.
Gui Minhai, a Swedish citizen who is a shareholder of the shop’s parent company Mighty Current, went missing in Thailand in October 2014.
Lui Por and Cheung Chi-ping, Mighty Current’s general manager and employee, reportedly went missing in Shenzhen in the same month. The bookstore’s manager, Lam Wing-kee, is also missing and was last seen in Shenzhen.