Bail hiked for suspects in attack on Hong Kong bookstore founder

The Taiwan High Court on Tuesday raised the bail for the three men who allegedly carried out a premeditated attack on Lam Wing-kee (林榮基), founder of Hong Kong's Causeway Bay Books, in Taipei last week.(CNA)

TAIPEI (CNA) — The Taiwan High Court on Tuesday raised the bail for the three men who allegedly carried out a premeditated attack on Lam Wing-kee (林榮基), founder of Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay Books, in Taipei last week.

Lam, who fled to Taiwan amid fears of Chinese persecution, was splashed with red paint on April 21 by an attacker at a coffee shop in Taipei’s Zhongshan District, just days before the opening his new bookshop in the city.

The suspect and two alleged accomplices in the attack were tracked by police and arrested in Kaohsiung the next day.

According to police, the three suspects are a 51-year old man surnamed Cheng (鄭), and two brothers, aged 27 and 33, surnamed Tseng (曾).

Kaohsiung police said Cheng confessed to plotting the attack on Lam, claiming he was worried that the opening of Causeway Book Store in Taiwan would damage the country’s relations with China.

After questioning, the three suspects were handed over to the Taipei District Prosecutors Office, which later charged them with committing acts of intimidation and causing injury.

On April 24, the Taipei District Court turned down a request to detain and hold the suspects incommunicado, saying prosecutors had not provided sufficient evidence the suspects were flight risks or would collude with others.

It decided to release the suspects on bail of NT$20,000, NT$10,000 and NT$6,000, respectively.

Prosecutors immediately appealed the decision in the High Court, which on Tuesday upheld the decision not to detain the three suspects, but it raised their bail to NT$50,000, NT$70,000, and NT$90,000, respectively.

The attack on Lam occurred the day after he received a legal notice, warning him not to use the Chinese names of his bookstore as it was similar to the registered trade name of a bookstore in New Taipei.

The letter from the company’s lawyer accused Lam of registering his business under a similar name to compete unfairly in the same line of business and of infringing on its trademark, Lam told CNA.

He said, however, that he was proceeding with the opening of his new store in Taiwan on April 25 and that his lawyer would deal with the legal challenge.

Lam’s bookstore in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, which sold books critical of the Chinese government, was forcibly closed by authorities there in 2016.