Hong Kong Law & Crime

LegCo pres. says it would be ‘unfair’ not to believe bookseller as police and lawmaker raise doubts

Legislative Council President Jasper Tsang Yok-sing has said that it would be unfair to Causeway Books co-owner Lee Bo not to believe the version of events he gave, but admitted that many still have questions regarding the case. Meanwhile, Police Commissioner Lo Wai-chung said that, although they would accept Lee’s story, there may be things he was not revealing.

Lee Bo is one of the five booksellers who worked at Mighty Current Publishing and Causeway Bay Bookstore; all of them were reported to be missing last year. Lee said in various interviews earlier this week that he “smuggled” himself into the mainland to “assist” with an investigation and that he was not abducted.

legislative Council

Legislative Council President Jasper Tsang. Photo: RTHK screenshot.

Tsang said on Tuesday that he had no right to comment as to whether Lee should be believed, and that everyone can decide for themselves. However, he added: “If we insist on not believing Lee, it is not very fair to him.”

“There’s no point in making all these guesses… no matter what, it’s a good thing that that there is more information [on the case]. Plus, Hong Kong police have been able to meet with Lee Bo in person. But I think many people still have questions,” he told RTHK.

Lee Bo

Lee Bo. Photo: Phoenix TV screenshot.

Tsang said that Lee could come back to Hong Kong first, and then return to China if he still needs to assist with the investigation. “If he meets with the media [here] or makes a formal public statement, it could ease everyone’s worries.”

Will accept story for now, say police

Police Commissioner Lo Wai-chung said that Lee met with the police on Monday and had requested the case be closed. However, the police were still following up on the case as Lee did not reveal how he left Hong Kong.

stephen lo

Stephen Lo. File Photo: RTHK Screenshot.

Lo also said that there may be some things Lee was not revealing to the police. However, it was unlikely that there would be new updates from him for the time being, thus the police would meet with him again only after he returns to Hong Kong, where they can exercise local law enforcement powers.

Lo also said that, so far, the police had not found any evidence over the course of their investigation that Lee had been taken away against his will, or that there had been cross-border law enforcement by mainland authorities. They would accept Lee’s version of the events for now, Apple Daily reported.

Michael Tien: Doubts not entirely dispelled

New People’s Party lawmaker Michael Tien Puk-sun said that, objectively speaking, there was no reason not to accept Lee’s version of the events. “All along we didn’t believe his letters, his videos and voice messages and so on, so the police went and met with him… and Lee confirmed that he was not kidnapped.”

However, Tien said that his instincts tell him otherwise and his doubts are not entirely dispelled, because Lee did not go into the details of what happened. “For this sort of cases, the more details you reveal, the more likely you are to convince others – or the opposite could happen and it would feel less credible. So how much you disclose is key.”

LegCo pres. says it would be 'unfair' not to believe bookseller as police and lawmaker raise doubts