Lam Wing-kee is the founder of Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay Books, which sold paperbacks highly critical of China’s Communist Party leadership. The shop sparked international attention when in late 2015, Mr. Lam, along with four other staff, disappeared at the hands of Chinese authorities.
Blindfolded and handcuffed, Mr. Lam was abducted from Hong Kong’s border with mainland China and taken to a cell, where he would spend five months in solitary confinement. Mr. Lam was repeatedly interrogated, and was forced to sign a document admitting guilt for mailing banned books to mainland China.
After eight months of detention, Mr. Lam was permitted to leave—on the condition that he return to mainland China with a hard-drive full of information on the store’s customers. Instead, when back in Hong Kong, Mr. Lam defiantly went public with the harrowing details of his time in detention, breaking the silence maintained by three of his colleagues who has been released earlier.
The fifth bookseller, Swedish citizen Gui Minhai, still remains in custody, accused of “masterminding” the smuggling of the books. He was sentenced to 10 years in February 2020.
Mr. Lam has since re-opened his shop in neighboring Taiwan.