Allegations of China abducting associates of a Hong Kong bookstore have gained momentum in recent days, with one former Hong Kong police official saying it may not be an isolated incident.
Five members of a Hong Kong publisher specializing in books critical of Chinese Community Party elites were reported missing last year, triggering widespread speculation that mainland officials had spirited them across the border as a silencing mechanism.
"This case has grabbed international attention but I'm aware of several incidents of a similar nature that have occurred," said Steve Vickers, former head of the Royal Hong Kong Police Criminal Intelligence Bureau and current CEO of political and corporate risk consultancy Steve Vickers & Associates.
"There have been a series of other incidents involving booksellers, which I've had a look at, where people have come across [the border] to have discussions with them."
Sometimes, those chats result in booksellers being paid to cease and desist their publications but in other cases, they are forced across the border, he explained.