Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has said that the HKSAR government has already sent a letter to the central government to express the concerns of Hongkongers over the booksellers incident. The letter touched upon the issues of cross-border law enforcement, communication with Beijing, and the guarantees of rights and freedom under the Basic Law, Leung said.
Leung’s comments came a day after he returned from a nine-day holiday and spoke to the media on Monday, promising to write to the central authorities and review the notification mechanism between Hong Kong and the mainland.
The statements were made in response to revelations by returned bookseller Lam Wing-kee, who held a press conference last Thursday saying that he was kidnapped in Shenzhen and held in solitary confinement for eight months. Lam is the founder of Causeway Bay Books, a store known for selling gossipy political titles banned in China; five booksellers from the store went missing last year.
Speaking before the weekly Executive Council meeting on Tuesday morning, Leung said, “The letter has already been issued. The contents mostly cover four aspects…”
“[This includes] how mainland authorities deal with cases of Hongkongers violating the laws on the mainland, whether there is any cross-border enforcement of the law; whether, in the event that a Hongkonger is detained, the notification mechanism between Hong Kong and the mainland can sufficiently protect the rights of Hongkongers and if this mechanism is transparent; as well as whether the handling of the incident has affected the freedom and rights guaranteed to Hongkongers under the Basic Law, including that of speech, publication and freedom of the person.”
“We don’t know the truth yet… we only know what we learned from the media,” Leung added. When asked whether an active investigation on the existence of cross-border law enforcement would be carried out, Leung said that things will be taken step-by-step.
In response, Lam Wing-kee suggested Hong Kong was powerless.
“He has done what he needs to do, but it depends on what the mainland [authorities] will say, Hong Kong cannot do anything,” Lam said on a Commercial radio programme on Tuesday.
“The two governments are not equal, but a hierarchy. You ask your boss to do something; the boss will reply whenever they like – can you demand that your boss replies?” he added.
Lam also said that the two minders that came to Hong Kong with him were incidents of cross-border law enforcement, as he was required to report to them his locations by phone messages.