HONG KONG - A Hong Kong bookseller who said he was blindfolded, interrogated and detained in China led a protest march Saturday defying Beijing as pressure grows for authorities to answer questions over the case.

Lam Wing-kee is one of five booksellers who went missing last year -- all worked for a publisher known for salacious titles about leading Chinese politicians. The case heightened fears that Beijing was tightening its grip on semi-autonomous Hong Kong, with Lam's explosive revelations earlier this week about how he had been detained in China further fanning many residents' concerns.

Lam told AFP Saturday that he did not feel afraid after breaking bail, refusing to return to the mainland and breaking silence on his detention. "I don't feel scared because there are so many people here," said Lam, surrounded by more than 1,000 supporters who had gathered in Hong Kong to protest against his detention and to demand answers from the city's authorities over the booksellers' case.

"I'm happy to be back in Hong Kong."

He added that he had been contacted by the city's police but had not yet responded to them. He would give no detail about where he was now living. Leading the rally, he shouted slogans including "Say no to authority!" and "Hong Kong has a bottom line!"

The protesters, carrying banners saying "Fight until the very end" are marching from the Causeway Bay Bookstore, the business at the centre of the controversy, to China's liaison office.

In a surprise press conference Thursday Lam told how he had been blindfolded and transported north after crossing the border into the mainland to visit his girlfriend in October. Lam said he was kept in a room, interrogated for months and forced to sign away his right to a lawyer or contact with his family.

He also described how he recited a scripted confession broadcast on Chinese state television, admitting to trading banned books, out of fear.