Two of the five previously missing Honk Kong booksellers have returned home and told police to stop investigating their missing persons cases. Both are back on the mainland.
A source told the South China Morning Post that Lui Por returned to Hong Kong on Friday and Cheung Chi-ping did so on Sunday. Both went back to the mainland on the same day they arrived in Hong Kong.
Both men had worked for Causeway Bookstore, which sold titles banned in the mainland for criticizing the ruling communist party. Along with three other employees, they appeared last month on Chinese state-run television where they suspiciously confessed to illegally selling banned books to employees on the mainland.
They named bookseller Gui Minhai as the ringleader of the operation.
“I have deeply reflected on what I have done and very much regret the illegal book trading I have carried out with Gui Minhai,” Lui said.
Lee Bo, one of the booksellers absent from the initial confession appeared on Phoenix TV the next day and gave a similar account about willfully going into the mainland to aid in the investigation. He also said he needed no help from the governments in Hong Kong or the UK. Lee is a British citizen.
“Neither myself nor my wife want to become a political tool,” Lee said. “I hope those people will stop making a big deal out of this.”
Back in Hong Kong, the Causeway Bookstore looks like it may be going out of business. Lee Bo’s wife, Sophie Choi Ka-ping, is ready to shut it down and destroy more than 100,000 banned books for the safe return of her husband, according to an employee who spoke with SCMP.