65-year-old Lee Bo, also known as Paul Lee, is a major shareholder of Causeway Bay Books and was the most recent publisher to disappear.
Mr Leung said there is “no indication” that mainland legal agencies have spirited Mr Lee away, but added that the government is extremely concerned about the situation.
Among the activists is a retired political science professor at the City University of Hong Kong, Joseph Cheng, who says it is a concerning development.
It’s not uncommon in mainland China for company executives and dissidents to be detained for lengthy periods, but the disappearances are unprecedented in Hong Kong and have shocked the city’s publishing industry.
“The government cares very much about Hong Kong residents” rights and safety”, Leung Chun-ying told reporters, saying it would be “unacceptable’ if mainland law enforcers were operating in Hong Kong.
“Our embassies in Beijing and Bangkok are working with this case”, he said.
Choi received a call from Lee at 10pm “to tell me everything all right” but not from a number she recognised and originating from a Chinese city, Shenzen, in Guangdong Province.
Books by Mighty Current are banned on the mainland but are available in Hong Kong, which enjoys freedom of the press and other civil liberties unseen on the mainland because of its status as a specially administered region of China.
Secretary for Security, John Lee, said the police would be expanding the scope of its investigation into Lee’s disappearance, although it was not possible to give details about every line of inquiry, broadcaster RTHK reported on Sunday. In the clip, she insisrs, “Hong Kong is not Hong Kong anymore, it is named as Hong Kong only”.
Demonstrators hold up portraits of Causeway Bay Books shareholder Lee Bo (R) during a protest to call for an investigation behind the disappearance of five staff members of a Hong Kong publishing house and bookstore. “The Hong Kong government is extremely anxious concerning the case”.
Lee was last seen at a Hong Kong book warehouse, another source told AFP.
Swedish national Gui Minhai, the owner of the publishing house, Mighty Current, that owns the bookstore, disappeared while on holiday in Thailand in October, the South China Morning Post reported.
But pro-democracy lawmakers said it appeared likely Lee had been kidnapped by Chinese police, and expressed shock, anger and fear.
A local lawmaker said Sunday he believes Chinese security officers kidnapped five publishing company employees who have gone missing in the city, possibly because of a planned book about the former love life of President Xi Jinping.
The books sold by Causeway Bay Bookstore – run by Mr Lee and four associates who have also gone missing – are created out of “evil intent”, and inflict great harm on reputations and are destabilising, it said. “It was about the missing [associates]”, she told Cable TV.
“Whatever has happened, it is rootless to doubt that the policy of one country, two systems is changing and to claim that the mainland will control Hong Kong“, it said. Now if they did not make any arrest, then they (can) just come out and say it. But the fact is the Hong Kong police and the Chinese police did not respond to those questions.
‘Although the… bookstore is based in Hong Kong, it maintains itself by causing trouble in the mainland’.
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