Causeway Bay Books to reopen this week, despite legal challenge

Taipei,  Causeway Bay Books, originally from Hong Kong, will reopen in Taipei on April 25 as scheduled despite a minor issue regarding its business registration, founder Lam Wing-kee (林榮基) said Monday.

Lam said he recently received a letter from a lawyer representing a bookstore in New Taipei registered under a similar trade name in Chinese, which warned him to stop using that name in Taiwan.

The company accused Lam of registering a similar name to compete unfairly in the same line of business, while also infringing on its existing trademark, he told CNA.

The Hong Kong bookseller said his store, originally located in the territory’s Causeway Bay, has since been forcibly closed by the authorities.

“I didn’t expect them to register and open another fake store in Taiwan,” he said, implying the competitor is a front for the Chinese authorities.

According to the Department of Commerce’s business registry website, the New Taipei store is represented by a man named Chiang Tung-chan (蔣東展) with capital investment of NT$50,000 (US$1,666).

The company, which does not have an English name, was registered on March 3 in Zhonghe District, the data showed.

Meanwhile, Lam’s store was officially registered on March 31, with the English name “Causeway Bay Books LTD.,” and a Chinese name that is almost identical to the one in New Taipei, except that it has the characters “Zhongshan” (中山) at the front of the registered name.

Lam said his lawyer is dealing with the matter, and he still plans to open the store in Taipei on April 25 as scheduled.

“I don’t care, I’m going to open my bookstore all the same,” Lam said.

Lam was one of five shareholders and staff at Causeway Bay Books 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.

In April last year, Lam 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China under a controversial extradition bill that was being considered by the Hong Kong government, but has since been withdrawn.

Late on Monday, the Mainland Affairs Council, Taiwan’s agency responsible for cross-Taiwan Strait relations, said in a text message that law enforcement will investigate the case to determine whether the Chinese Communist Party or its affiliates are behind the legal challenge.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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