One of the five Hong Kong booksellers whose disappearances sparked international concern says he spent months locked in a small room on the Chinese mainland as authorities tried to learn more about his publishing company’s authors and customers

He later resurfaced on a Chinese television channel with some of the others to confess to some crimes, in an appearance that rights activists suspected was coerced. He returned to Hong Kong on Tuesday and asked that police cancel a missing person case for him.

He was one of the minor characters in the saga of the missing booksellers, which gained international attention because two other men involved had foreign citizenship and were suspected of being abducted by Chinese security agents working outside mainland China. Publisher Gui Minhai, a Swedish national, went missing from his holiday home in Thailand about the same time as Lam and two others, while British passport holder Lee Bo disappeared from Hong Kong in December.

Lam said the disappearances were a blatant violation of the “one country, two systems” policy that governs Beijing’s relationship with Hong Kong, under which the former British colony retains considerable autonomy and civil liberties such as freedom of speech unseen in mainland China.

Lam said he was seized on Oct. 24 by a “central special investigation team” after crossing from Hong Kong into the neighboring city of Shenzhen in mainland China. He was taken to a police station and held in a cell overnight. The next morning, he said he was blindfolded and put on a train for 13-14 hours to the city of Ningbo, near Shanghai, and was taken to a building where he was asked to sign a document with two conditions — not to contact his family and not to hire a lawyer, which he said he did because he was alone.

Lam said he was kept under 24-hour surveillance in a room less than 300 square feet (27 square meters) in size during the time he was under detention. He was accused of breaking the law by bringing banned books into the mainland.

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