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LCQ9: Police continue to investigate incident on a bookstore in Causeway Bay
     Following is a question by the Hon Lee Cheuk-yan and a written reply by the Secretary for Security, Mr Lai Tung-kwok, in the Legislative Council today (July 13):


     Mr Lam Wing-kee, the manager of Causeway Bay Books, returned to Hong Kong on the 14th of last month after having gone missing for nearly eight months, and held a press conference two days later to make public the details of his being detained by the Mainland authorities on the Mainland.  Mr Lam also disclosed that two Mainland officials from a central special investigation task force had escorted him back to Hong Kong and requested him to bring back to the Mainland the computer harddisk containing the book-selling records of the bookstore as well as report regularly to them his whereabouts in Hong Kong using instant messaging applications.  On the other hand, the Chief Executive (CE) indicated on the 20th of last month that he would relay in writing to the Central Authorities Hong Kong people's concerns and worries about the incident of five shareholders or employees of Causeway Bay Books reported missing, as well as review and improve the existing Arrangements on the Establishment of a Reciprocal Notification Mechanism between the Mainland Public Security Authorities and the Hong Kong Police, and that he would dispatch officials to the Mainland to follow up the matters concerned if necessary.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) whether it knows the identity of the two aforesaid Mainland officials who escorted Mr Lam back to Hong Kong, and the types of endorsements on which they entered the territory;

(2) whether it has assessed if Mainland officials' conducting surveillance on Hong Kong people suspected of having breached Mainland laws and gathering evidence for such cases in Hong Kong are tantamount to enforcing laws across the boundary, discharging duties across the boundary or contravening conditions of stay; if it has assessed and the outcome is in the affirmative, of the ways in which the authorities will follow up and pursue the matter; and

(3) as some members of the public are gravely concerned about this incident of Mainland law enforcement officers allegedly enforcing laws across the boundary in Hong Kong and they comment that the incident, if substantiated, suggests that the Mainland authorities have destroyed "one country, two systems", whether CE will consider going to Beijing in person to follow up the matter direct with the Central Authorities; if he will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



     The consolidated reply to the Hon Lee Cheuk-yan's question is as follows:

     In respect of the incident concerning a bookstore in Causeway Bay, the Police have been proactively conducting investigation and taken the initiative to make enquiries with and seek assistance from the Mainland authorities.

     In June and July this year, the Police have met with Mr Lam Wing-kee a number of times and recorded statements.  During the meetings, Mr Lam gave an account of his situation in the Mainland and after returning to Hong Kong.  The Police have assessed the situation of Mr Lam.  At this stage there is no substantive evidence suggesting that Mr Lam's personal safety is at risk.  However, in view of his worries and the serious public concern over the incident, the Police have decided to provide Mr Lam with personal protection.  Mr Lam has agreed with the arrangements.  The Police will continue to follow up and investigate the stalking as claimed by Mr Lam.

     Since Hong Kong's return to China, the HKSAR Government has all along been dealing with matters relating to the HKSAR strictly in accordance with the principle of "one country, two systems" and the Basic Law.  The Basic Law only authorises law enforcement agencies of Hong Kong to enforce laws in Hong Kong.  Law enforcement agencies outside of Hong Kong, including law enforcement agencies of the Mainland and overseas, do not have the authority to enforce laws in Hong Kong.  If law enforcement officers of non-Hong Kong jurisdictions take law enforcement actions in Hong Kong, this will contravene Hong Kong laws and is unacceptable.  Every person in Hong Kong must abide by the laws of Hong Kong.  If there is any illegal act, the Police will handle in accordance with the law.  In respect of the incident concerning a bookstore in Causeway Bay, the Police's investigation is still ongoing.  At this stage the Police have not discovered any evidence indicating that there was "law enforcement across the boundary".

     Any person, wherever they go, should abide by local rules so as to avoid contravening the law.  Any person who is in the Mainland must abide by the laws of the Mainland.

     Regarding the incident concerning a bookstore in Causeway Bay, the Chief Executive (CE), while meeting reporters on June 20, clearly stated that he attached great importance to the incident and understood the concern of the community.  He stated that he had made three decisions:  Firstly, he would write to the Central Authorities on June 20 to reflect the concern of the people in Hong Kong.  Secondly, Hong Kong people should observe the local laws when they are in the Mainland or other places.  If a person from Hong Kong contravenes the laws of the Mainland in the Mainland, a notification mechanism is in place between the HKSAR Government and the Mainland.  The HKSAR Government will review the arrangements under the notification mechanism with a view to improving the notification timeframe and its transparency, so as to facilitate the HKSAR Government's early understanding of the situation of the Hong Kong person concerned, so that the HKSAR Government could inform his family as soon as possible, ensure his personal safety, protect his rights under the law, and provide practicable assistance.  Thirdly, as necessary, the CE would dispatch HKSAR Government officials to the Mainland to follow up on the above decisions.

     On July 5, the Secretary for Justice, the Secretary for Security, the Acting Commissioner of Police, the Director of Immigration and the Commissioner of Customs and Excise went to Beijing and met with the Mainland authorities including the Ministry of Public Security, the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council and etc. for a first-round discussion on further perfecting the notification mechanism.  Both sides agreed to focus on revising and perfecting various aspects of the notification mechanism, including the timeframe, content, scope and channel etc, so as to better protect the lawful rights of residents of both sides.  At the meeting, the HKSAR Government officials also listened to notifications by the relevant Mainland authorities on the circumstances of the case of Lam Wing-kee as well as the arrest in the Mainland of the suspect of the homicide and robbery case in a money exchange shop in Tai Po on March 14 this year.

     The Central Authorities attach great importance to the HKSAR Government's recommendation of improving the notification mechanism.  In the above-mentioned meeting, both sides had proactive and interactive discussion, obtaining achievements at this stage.  Both sides have also agreed to carry out the second-round discussion around the end of July.  At the same time, the Police will continue to proactively conduct investigation in respect of the incident concerning a bookstore in Causeway Bay.
Ends/Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Issued at HKT 17:00
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