TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Singapore-based member of groups that back China's annexation of Taiwan issued a death threat against Hong Kong's Causeway Bay Books (銅鑼灣書店) founder Lam Wing-kee (林榮基) on Wednesday (April 22).
On Tuesday morning (April 20), one of three suspects who had been following Lam splashed a full can of red paint on him as he was sitting in a cafe in Taipei's Zhongshan District. By Wednesday morning (April 21), Kaohsiung police had already arrested a 28-year-old man identified as Tseng Shih-sheng (曾士晟), his 27-year-old brother Tseng Shih-feng (曾士峰), and another man named Cheng Chi-lung (鄭啟龍) in connection with the assault.
That evening, Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) uploaded a post on its Facebook page condemning the assault on Lam. Only half an hour later, a Facebook user who goes by the name "Jonathan Gao" posted the following threatening comment under the MAC post:
"Be careful Lam Wing-kee. This is our first warning to you. We have many brothers in Taipei. They could kill you in minutes."
On his Facebook page, Gao lists himself as a member of the Patriot Alliance Association, the Chinese Unification Promotion Party (CUPP), and the Nanyang branch of the Kuomintang (KMT) and claims to work for an organization called "洪門二一海聯誼總會" (Hongmen 21 Sea Friendship Association). He lists himself as originally being from Taipei and as having attended the National University of Singapore and currently living in Singapore.
As soon as it discovered the comment, the MAC immediately notified the Zhongshan Precinct of the Taipei City Police Department. A police department task force investigated his Facebook account and found that it was brand new, having been created that same day, reported Liberty Times.
Police believe that the man intentionally left the message to intimidate and "draw the attention of all parties," and they said they plan to investigate the suspicious incident further. The comment has since been removed.
Threatening comment left by Gao. (Facebook, MAC screenshot)
Although police believe the Facebook account to be fake, they suspect that the man behind it is a member of the Concentric Patriotism Alliance and CUPP among other pro-China unification groups.
Causeway Bay Books famously sold political books that were banned in communist China. However, from October to December 2015, five of the bookstore's shareholders and employees, including Lam, disappeared and were later found to be in the custody of Chinese authorities, with some still under detention.
In April 2019, Lam decided to open a Taiwan branch of the Causeway Bookstore. However, as soon as the news came out, another bookstore in New Taipei registered the trademark for the name in Taiwan.
In response, Lam decided to change the name of the bookstore to "Taiwan Causeway Bay Books" (台灣銅鑼灣書店). He plans to open the store in Taipei on Saturday (April 25).