HONG KONG (Reuters) - A second Hong Kong bookseller who went missing and was found to have been detained in China returned home on Sunday, refusing to discuss his case, Hong Kong police said.
Cheung Chi Ping was one of five Hong Kong booksellers specializing in gossipy publications about Chinese leaders to go missing last year. A colleague from the same store re-appeared in the city on Friday.
“Cheung Chi Ping requested police to cancel his missing person case and stated that he did not require any assistance from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government or police,” the police said in a statement.
“Cheung refused to disclose other details,” it added.
Two of the others, Gui Minhai and Lee Bo had been outside mainland China when they disappeared. Gui was in Thailand and Lee in Hong Kong.
Gui appeared on state television in January and tearfully confessed to a fatal drink-driving incident over a decade ago. He appeared on Chinese television again late last month with three of his colleagues confirming for the first time they had been detained for “illegal book trading” in mainland China.
British passport holder Lee, in an interview with China’s Phoenix Television last week, said he had not been kidnapped by Chinese authorities, as many suspect, but had sneaked into China illegally and that he would renounce his British citizenship.
The booksellers’ plight had provoked concerns that China was using shadowy tactics to weaken Hong Kong’s broad freedoms under the “one country, two systems” formula under which the global financial hub has been governed since its return to China from British rule in 1997.
Police had said on Wednesday that authorities in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong had told them Lui and his colleagues, Cheung Chi Ping and Lam Wing Kee, would be released on bail in coming days.
A number of governments have expressed concern about the disappearances, which some diplomats fear were abductions by Chinese agents.
China’s Foreign Ministry has said its law enforcement officials would never do anything illegal, especially not overseas, and called on foreign governments not to interfere in Hong Kong affairs.
Hong Kong police said they would continue to follow the other missing person cases with the Interpol Guangdong Liaison Office of Guangdong Provincial Public Security Department.
Reporting by Donny Kwok; Editing by Anne Marie Roantree and Kim Coghill