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日前,多份報章指「銅鑼灣書店」再有一名股東失蹤。「銅鑼灣書店」以出版及售賣大陸禁書而聞名,該書店於3個月內共有5名股東或主管相繼失蹤。與之前失蹤事件不同的是,今次事件中的李波先生是於香港境內失去聯絡,而非外地。

報導更指李先生是於柴灣貨倉工作後,被幾名不明來歷的人士帶走。書店職員指於李先生失蹤當晚,兩度接到李先生致電「報平安」,來電號碼均為大陸電話號碼。因此,有理由相信,李先生已離開香港,並身處大陸。其後,北角警署確認接獲一名姓蔡女子報案,指未能與其李姓丈夫聯絡,案件列作「失蹤人士」,由港島總區失蹤人口調查組跟進。其後,警員上門調查時,發現李先生的回鄉證仍在香港家中,出入境紀錄中更沒有李先生離開香港的記錄。

如事件屬實,這無疑是對香港基本法再一次的踐踏。

首先,基本法第二十七條清楚保障香港居民享有出版自由。「銅鑼灣書店」如因其出版的書籍而被捕,無疑是侵犯了他們基本法下應有的權利。

加上,基本法第十四條列明:「香港特別行政區政府負責維持香港特別行政區的社會治安。」;

第十八條:「全國性法律除列於本法附件三者外,不在香港特別行政區實施。凡列於本法附件三之法律,由香港特別行政區在當地公布或立法實施。」;及

第二十二條:「中央人民政府所屬各部門、各省、自治區、直轄市均不得干預香港特別行政區根據本法自行管理的事務。」

香港特區政府擁有香港境內的執法權。中國法律(除於附件三內的全國法外)並不適用於香港,中國公安更不能在香港境內執行中國的法律。由於事件關乎到中國有沒有嚴格遵從基本法的承諾,香港特區政府必須嚴正調查事件,不容基本法及香港法治再受衝擊。

另外,我們也關注是此事件中有沒有人違反中國及香港也簽訂了的「公民權利和政治權利國際公約」,特別是公約的第九條:

「(一) 人人有權享有身體自由及人身安全。任何人不得無理予以逮捕或拘禁。非依法定理由及程序,不得剝奪任何人之自由。

(二) 執行逮捕時,應當場向被捕人宣告逮捕原因,並應隨即告知被控案由。

(三) 因刑事罪名而被逮捕或拘禁之人,應迅即解送法官或依法執行司法權力之其他官員,並應於合理期間內審訊或釋放。候訊人通常不得加以羈押,但釋放得令具報,於審訊時、於司法程序之任何其他階段、並於一旦執行判決時,候傳到場。

(四)任何人因逮捕或拘禁而被奪自由時,有權聲請法院提審,以迅速決定其拘禁是否合法,如屬非法,應即令釋放。」

因此,法政匯思促請香港特區政府、警方及入境署全力追查事件,維護香港一國兩制及高度自治及保障李波先生及其他四名人士桂民海先生、呂波先生、林榮基先生及張志平先生的人身安全及人權。

法政匯思
2016年1月6日

Recently, a number of newspapers reported that another co-owner of Causeway Bay Books has gone missing. Causeway Bay Books is known for publishing and selling books banned in Mainland China. Within the past three months, five of its co-owners or managers have successively gone missing. What differs from previous incidents in which persons have gone missing is that in this case, contact with Mr. Lee Bo was lost within, and not outside Hong Kong.

The reports further indicated that Mr. Lee was taken away by individuals of unknown identities after working in a godown facility in Chai Wan. Employees of the bookstore indicated that on the evening of Mr. Lee’s disappearance, they received two calls from Mr. Lee indicating that he was “safe”, and in both cases the caller identification was a Mainland China number. Therefore, there is reason to believe that Mr. Lee was no longer in Hong Kong, and was in Mainland China. Subsequently, the North Point Police Station confirmed that a report was made by a Ms. Choi that she had lost contact with her husband Mr. Lee. The report was characterised as a “missing report” case, and was assigned to the Hong Kong Island Regional Missing Persons Unit for investigation. Thereafter, when police officers went to Mr. Lee’s residence to investigate, they discovered that Mr. Lee’s Home Return Permit was still at his residence in Hong Kong, and moreover there was no immigration record of Mr. Lee leaving Hong Kong.

If the above were true, it would undoubtedly be yet again another violation of the Basic Law.

Firstly, Article 27 of the Basic Law makes it clear that Hong Kong residents’ freedom of the press is guaranteed. Arresting owners and employees of Causeway Bay Books for the books it publishes is undoubtedly a violation of their rights under the Basic Law.

Further, Article 14 of the Basic Law provides that “[t]he Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be responsible for the maintenance of public order in the Region”;

Article 18 of the Basic Law provides that “[n]ational laws shall not be applied in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region except for those listed in Annex III to this Law. The laws listed therein shall be applied locally by way of promulgation or legislation by the Region”; and

Article 22 of the Basic Law provides that “[n]o department of the Central People’s Government and no province, autonomous region, or municipality directly under the Central Government may interfere in the affairs which the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region administers on its own in accordance with this Law”.

The HKSAR Government has the power to enforce Hong Kong laws within Hong Kong. PRC laws (save for national laws contained in Annex III of the Basic Law) shall not be applied in Hong Kong and China’s enforcement agencies shall not enforce PRC laws within the territory of Hong Kong. The Lee Bo incident sparked concerns that China did not strictly comply with the Basic Law. The HKSAR Government must investigate into this matter so as to prevent any further erosion to the rule of law in Hong Kong.

In addition, we are concerned that this incident might have breached the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, a convention adopted by both China and Hong Kong. In particular, Article 9 of the Covenant states the following:

“1. Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law.

2. Anyone who is arrested shall be informed, at the time of arrest, of the reasons for his arrest and shall be promptly informed of any charges against him.

3. Anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release. It shall not be the general rule that persons awaiting trial shall be detained in custody, but release may be subject to guarantees to appear for trial, at any other stage of the judicial proceedings, and, should occasion arise, for execution of the judgement.

4. Anyone who is deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled to take proceedings before a court, in order that that court may decide without delay on the lawfulness of his detention and order his release if the detention is not lawful.”

The Progressive Lawyers Group urges the HKSAR Government, the Hong Kong Police Force and the Immigration Department to immediately investigate this matter so as to safeguard Hong Kong’s “one country two systems” and to protect the rights and safety of Mr. Lee Bo and four associates of Causeway Bay Books who went missing.

Progressive Lawyers Group
6 January 2016

Originally published in Stand News on 9 January 2016