Leung: China police no right to act in HK
HONG Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun Ying said yesterday no outside law enforcement agency, not even from mainland China, could carry out legal action in the city, following the disappearance of a local bookseller who many suspect has been whisked away by Chinese security agents.
"If mainland law enforcement personnel enforce their law in Hong Kong, this is unacceptable because it breaches the Basic Law," Mr Leung told a press conference, referring to the city's mini-constitution which guarantees its autonomy from China in the law enforcement aspect.
Mr Leung said Hong Kong's position has to be made clear amid speculation on the disappearance of Lee Bo, who has gone missing since Wednesday, the Chinese BBC reported.
He added that he was "very concerned" over the safety of the 65-year-old, who is a shareholder of the Mighty Current publishing company which specialises in books critical of the Chinese government.
But according to Mr Leung, there was "no indication" yet that Mr Lee had been taken to the mainland, and he appealed to the public for information on the case.
"The government cares very much about Hong Kong residents' rights and safety," Agence France-Presse quoted Mr Leung as saying.
Four other booksellers from Mighty Current have also disappeared since October, but two of them are known to have "vanished" while visiting the mainland, one while travelling in Thailand, and the fourth might still be in Hong Kong, according to the Initium Media news portal.
According to Mr Lee's wife, her husband had told her he was "assisting in an investigation" on Wednesday night when he called via a mainland China number after he failed to come home for dinner.
Mr Lee's passport and return-home permit - a special document for Hong Kongers visiting China - were found at home, reported the Apple Daily.
Mr Leung's political opponents criticised him for not going far enough to press the Chinese authorities for information.
"The Hong Kong government and Leung Chun Ying should express to the top level on the mainland the concern of the people of Hong Kong, instead of waiting for a reply," said pro-democracy lawmaker Lee Cheuk Yan.
Acting secretary for security John Lee said on Sunday Hong Kong police had made inquiries to mainland counterparts and were yet to receive a reply.
Former security chief Regina Ip wondered why China security authorities had allowed Mr Lee to call home - which was unusual as even people detained in Hong Kong were mostly denied such privilege.
The Causeway Bay bookshop, the retail outlet of Mighty Current, remained closed yesterday.
More than 10 members of the pro-independence group Civic Passion marched to Hong Kong's police and immigration headquarters yesterday to protest against what they see as the government's "heartless disregard" for the lives of the city's citizens.
When asked about the disappearance of Mr Lee, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said at a daily news briefing in Beijing yesterday that she had no information to offer.