Lam Wing-kee

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Lam Wing-kee
Lam in 2017

December 1955 (age 68)
NationalityHong Konger
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese林榮基
Simplified Chinese林荣基

Lam Wing-kee (Chinese: 林榮基; Cantonese Yale: Lám Wìhng gēi, born December 1955) is a Hong Kong businessman and book seller. He is the owner of Causeway Bay Books in Taipei, a book store first located in Causeway Bay in Hong Kong and most well known for its provision of politically related publications. In late 2015, he went missing along with four other staff members of the book store, sparking international concern.[1]


Lam is the founder of Causeway Bay Books. He habitually spent long hours at the bookshop and occasionally slept there. On 24 October 2015, he went missing, as part of the disappearances of several members of the book store. His wife filed a missing persons report with the police on 5 November and his family received a telephone call from him several hours later in which he refused to reveal his whereabouts. Upon learning that he had contacted his family, the police informed them that the case would be closed as resolved.[2]

On 4 February 2016, provincial authorities in Guangdong confirmed that Lam and two other members had been taken into custody in relation to a case involving Gui Minhai, writer and shareholder of Causeway Bay Books.[3] The Guangdong authorities accused them of being "involved in illegal activities on the mainland" saying that "criminal compulsory measures were imposed on them". On 28 February, the three men appeared on Phoenix Television along with Gui Minhai in which they confessed to conspiring with Gui to send banned books to mainland customers and expressed remorse for their "illegal book trading". Lam, further claiming Gui's books were fabrication, having been compiled from information obtained from the internet and magazines, acknowledged that the books "generated lots of rumours in society and brought a bad influence".[4]

Lam was allowed to return to Hong Kong from the mainland, eight months after he disappeared, to fetch information on the customers of the book store.[5] On 13 June, Lam cancelled his missing person's report with the police, repudiating police assistance.[6] Three days later, on the day he was due to return to the mainland, he held a press briefing in the presence of legislator Albert Ho during which he claimed that he was abducted by the mainland officials at the Hong Kong-China border control in Shenzhen in October 2015. He revealed that he had been transported handcuffed and blindfolded to Ningbo. Lam was not told what offence he had committed until after he was taken to Ningbo, where he was held in solitary confinement and under 24-hour guard by six teams of gaolers from the Central Investigation Team. During his detention, he was subject to frequent interrogations each lasting around 40 minutes during which he was repeatedly accused of illegally sending banned books to mainland China. After March 2016, Lam was transferred to Shaoguan, where he worked in a library, but was prevented from leaving the mainland. He also stated that his confession on mainland TV in February was scripted.

When asked whether he can see that the government of Hong Kong has protected them, he replied "No".[7]


In April 2019, Lam went into a self-imposed exile in New Taipei City, Taiwan in response to the proposed Hong Kong extradition bill.[8] He was scared that he could be extradited to China and would be imprisoned again.[9]

A year later, in the face of physical threats and warnings over his choice of name,[10] he opened a small upstairs bookstore in the commercial district of Zhongshan, Taipei.[11] He successfully crowdfunded his operations, raising $100,000 in a single day.[12] On 21 April 2020, days before the reopening of Causeway Bay Books in Taipei, Lam was splashed with red paint and three suspects were arrested the next day.[13] President Tsai Ing-wen sent flowers and a congratulatory note on the day of the Taipei bookshop's opening,[14] and Legislative Yuan speaker You Si-kun and Democratic Progressive Party secretary-general Luo Wen-jia were in attendance.[15] In 2022, it was reported that Lam had applied for permanent residency in Taiwan.[16][17]

Political stance[edit]

His position on Hong Kong independence is ambiguous.[18] In a Canadian interview, he said

"Freedom is not all-powerful, freedom is always relative. You have the freedom of expression of course, but there is also a restriction. For instance, you like to sing at night while the neighbor is sleeping causing disturbance, then has your freedom affected others? ("自由不是萬能,自由永遠是相對。當然你有表達的自由,但都是有規限,譬如夜晚你喜歡唱歌,隔壁人家睡覺,你吵到人家,如此你的自由是否影響到人家呢?"[19]) "

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Zeng, Vivienne (8 January 2016). "The curious tale of five missing publishers in Hong Kong". Hong Kong Free Press. Archived from the original on 14 April 2016. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
  2. ^ 林榮基子:警拒透露父離境紀錄 警曾稱林已報平安不再查 「好似唔想跟」. Ming Pao (in Chinese). 6 January 2016. Archived from the original on 9 January 2016. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
  3. ^ Lewis, Simon (6 February 2016). "China Has Finally Told Hong Kong It Is Holding the 3 Missing Booksellers". Time. Archived from the original on 6 February 2016. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  4. ^ Leavenworth, Stuart (12 February 2016). "Britain accuses China of serious breach of treaty over 'removed' Hong Kong booksellers". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 6 February 2017. Retrieved 11 December 2016.
  5. ^ "The Bookseller's Decision". China Change. 31 December 2016. Archived from the original on 14 April 2017. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  6. ^ Siu, Phila (14 June 2016). "Eight months on, fourth bookseller finally allowed to return to Hong Kong". South China Morning Post. Archived from the original on 1 September 2019. Retrieved 1 September 2019.
  7. ^ "The Pulse:Causeway Bay Bookstore book seller Lam Wing-kee spoke out, discussion with Albert Ho & Wil 3:17". RTHK. 17 June 2017. Retrieved 17 January 2019 – via YouTube.
  8. ^ "Bookseller Lam Wing-kee leaves Hong Kong for Taiwan, fearing proposed extradition law will mean he is sent to mainland China". South China Morning Post. Archived from the original on 11 June 2019. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  9. ^ "Targeted in Hong Kong, Causeway Bay Books Has a New Home: Taiwan". Archived from the original on 28 August 2020. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  10. ^ "Lam Wing-kee: CCP behind rival 'Causeway Bay Books'". RTHK. 20 April 2020. Archived from the original on 27 April 2020. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  11. ^ "HK bookseller who defied China opens Taiwan shop". BBC. 25 April 2020. Archived from the original on 28 April 2020. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  12. ^ "HK bookseller who defied China raises $100,000". BBC. 6 September 2019. Archived from the original on 5 June 2020. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  13. ^ Huang Li-yun; Lo Lin; Evelyn Kao (22 April 2020). "Three arrested for attack on Hong Kong bookseller – Focus Taiwan". Archived from the original on 29 April 2020. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  14. ^ Lee, Yimou (25 April 2020). "Taiwan shows solidarity as bookseller who fled Hong Kong opens shop". Reuters. Archived from the original on 25 April 2020. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
  15. ^ Lim, Emerson; Miao, Chung-han (25 April 2020). "HK bookstore selling books critical of Beijing reopens in Taipei (with video)". Central News Agency. Archived from the original on 27 April 2020. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
  16. ^ Chen, Yu-fu (12 September 2022). "HK bookseller applies for permanent residency". Taipei Times. Retrieved 12 September 2022.
  17. ^ Chen, Pei-bing; Chiu, Tsu-yin; Kao, Evelyn (6 November 2022). "Self-exiled Hong Kong bookseller seeks permanent residency in Taiwan". Central News Agency. Retrieved 8 November 2022.
  18. ^ "林榮基的秘密:嗰日食完三支煙之後……". 眾新聞. 7 January 2017. Archived from the original on 5 March 2018. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  19. ^ "週一祥談 EP184: 店長談「法治」與「人權」– Part2 1:45". LS TIMES TV. 23 May 2017. Retrieved 17 January 2019 – via YouTube.