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Fund raising to reopen HK bookstore in Taiwan beats target

2019/11/05 20:15:30

Lam Wing-kee (林榮基) / CNA file photo

Taipei, Nov. 5 (CNA) Hong Kong resident Lam Wing-kee (林榮基) raised nearly NT$6 million (US$197,600) through an online fundraising website in a two-month period to fund his plan to reopen Causeway Bay Books in Taiwan, more than double the original target.

Lam's original goal when he launched the fundraising event titled "Causeway Bay Books - Reopen in Taiwan - Open for Free Souls," on the online fundraising platform flyingv on Sept. 5, was NT$2.8 million.

When the campaign ended on Nov. 4, a total of NT$5.97 million had been raised from 2,900 donors, related data shows.

Lam told CNA Tuesday that he has found an ideal location for the bookstore and the rent is fair. However, he needs time and money to remodel, he said, noting that the fundraising contract requires he open the bookstore within a month of fundraising ending.

Calling the bookstore a project jointly promoted by Taiwanese and Hong Kong netizens, Lam said he would serve as a custodian of Causeway Bay Books in Taiwan.

The bookstore will be "a public space for everyone," he said.

Lam was one of five shareholders and staff members of Causeway Bay Books, originally located in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, that sold books critical of Chinese leaders, who disappeared into Chinese custody at the end of 2015.

He 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 blindfolded by police after crossing the border into Shenzhen, China, and spent months being interrogated.

In late April this year, Lam told the media that he fled to Taiwan over concerns he would be extradited to China under a controversial extradition bill that was being considered by the Hong Kong government.

The bill has since been scrapped in the wake of mass protests that developed into a movement calling for full democracy in the Chinese Special Administrative Region.

(By Shen Peng-ta and Elizabeth Hsu)
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