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Missing Hong Kong Publisher Appears on Chinese TV

FILE - A pro-democracy activist burns a letter next to pictures of missing staff members of a publishing house and bookstore, including Gui Minhai, owner of Mighty Current, outside the Chinese liaison office in Hong Kong, Jan. 3, 2016.

A Hong Kong book publisher whose disappearance sparked international interest appeared weeping on state television Sunday, saying he had returned to China to surrender to police 11 years after fleeing a fatal drunk driving incident.

Gui Minhai is one of five missing people who are associated with the publisher Mighty Current, which specializes in books on political scandals involving China's Communist leaders and other sensitive topics that are banned in the mainland.

The official Xinhua News Agency reported that Gui said while in detention that he surrendered in October - about a decade after fleeing China following drunk driving incident. The report did not say if he was facing trial nor did it address the other disappearances.

Gui's friends have suspected he was abducted for political reasons by Chinese agents from his apartment in Pattaya, Thailand, and smuggled into China. He is a naturalized Swedish citizen, and his disappearance prompted questions from the Swedish Embassy.

The disappearances are the latest incidents to fuel growing unease in Hong Kong over the erosion of freedoms in the city, with fears that the five have been detained by Chinese authorities because of the work they published.

In the interview broadcast on Chinese state broadcaster CCTV, Gui said he fled the mainland after he was convicted of killing a college student in drink driving incident, despite only being sentenced to a two-year suspended sentence.

"I am taking my legal responsibilities, and am willing to accept any punishment," he said.

During the interview, which took place in a detention center, Gui sobbed and apologized to the family of the dead student.