Thu, Aug 09, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Causeway Bay opening delayed

‘RED INFLUENCES’:A group that registered the name in Taiwan approached Lam to join the venture, but it was later revealed that the group is affiliated with China

By Chung Li-hua and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Lam Wing-kei of Causeway Bay Books speaks at a news conference in Taipei on March 3 to discuss his plans to reopen the bookstore in the city.

Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times

Plans to reopen Causeway Bay Books (銅鑼灣圖書) in Taipei’s Ximending area (西門町) next month have been indefinitely postponed due to an investor withdrawing funding, Lam Wing-kei (林榮基) told the Liberty Times (sister newspaper of the Taipei Times) in an exclusive interview yesterday.

Between October and December 2015, Lam and four shareholders, co-owners or employees of Causeway Bay Books, a Hong Kong-based bookstore popular with tourists in search of books banned in China, disappeared, only to reappear in China a few months later.

In July 2016, Lam, the store’s manager, accused Beijing of kidnapping him to intimidate those involved in the bookstore. The abductions led to the store’s closing.

Lam said he was not discouraged by the lack of funding for his new venture.

“As long as people hold firm to their ideals and goals, there is always a chance for success,” he said.

Lam said that two people claiming to be on the staff of a North America-based social advocacy group in Taipei approached him in March, saying that they had already registered the name Causeway Bay Books (銅鑼灣書店) in Taiwan and wanted to join him in the venture.

He refused their offer and was later informed by friends in the US that the group was affiliated with China, Lam said.

Since then, efforts to open the bookstore in Taipei have been riddled with problems, he said.

Chinese influence and a smear campaign launched by left-leaning newspapers in Hong Kong were allegedly behind the investor withdrawing support, Lam said.

Hong Kong media equated the bookstore with the pro-Hong Kong and Taiwanese independence movements, which led Lam’s friend to have doubts about the project, he said.

The friend was under pressure from his family to drop the project due to the family’s business in China, he said, adding that the investor pulled out when visiting Taiwan in June, telling Lam that his business was being investigated by entities in Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Lam said he could not blame his friend, adding that the entities were not in the Taiwanese government, but “red influences” in Taiwan and Hong Kong.

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