Lam Wing-kei (林榮基), a former manager of Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay Books, was attacked yesterday morning by two unidentified men who threw red paint at him at a coffee shop in Taipei.
The incident took place at about 9am close to Zhongshan MRT Station near Lam’s new bookstore, which is scheduled to open on Saturday.
Lam, who immediately notified the police, said the suspects were wearing baseball caps and appeared to be in their 30s.
Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times
They fled the scene on foot after splashing him with red paint, he said.
“It’s hard to imagine this sort of thing happening in Taiwan,” he said after the incident, adding that he believed the attack was orchestrated by authorities in China.
“Obviously, it was a threat, warning me not to open my bookstore,” Lam said.
Zhongshan Police Precinct said it was reviewing footage from surveillance cameras in the area to identify and find the attackers.
The incident occurred one day after Lam received a legal warning from a bookstore in New Taipei City, telling him that he was infringing on its trademark by giving his store a similar name in Chinese.
However, Lam expressed doubt about the company registered in New Taipei City’s Jhonghe District (中和), saying that it was probably a shell entity serving as a front for Chinese authorities, without elaborating.
The Mainland Affairs Council yesterday said that law enforcement would investigate the matter to determine whether the Chinese Communist Party or its affiliates were behind the legal challenge.
Lam was one of five shareholders and staff at Causeway Bay Books in Hong Kong, which sold books critical of Chinese leaders.
He disappeared into Chinese custody at the end of 2015, and was released on bail and allowed to return to Hong Kong in June 2016 to retrieve a hard drive listing the bookstore’s customers.
Instead, he jumped bail and went public, detailing how he was detained and blindfolded by police after crossing the border into Shenzhen, China, and spent months being interrogated.
He fled to Taiwan in April last year, and subsequently raised nearly NT$6 million (US$199,322) via a fundraising Web site from September to November last year to fund his new bookstore in Taipei.
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