Edward Snowden

Hong Kong all too familiar with extradition requests

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 June, 2013, 10:22am

The Hong Kong government is no stranger to dealing with extradition requests - and its decisions have often courted controversy.

The administration has faced questions in recent years over its role in the rendition of Libyan dissident Sami al-Saadi, who was detained for almost a fortnight at the city's airport in 2004, along with his wife and four children. The family was then forced onto a private, Egyptian-registered jet and flown to the Libyan capital Tripoli.

The Post reported last year that the family - imprisoned and tortured after their return under the regime of former tyrant Muammar Gaddafi - was suing the British government for its role in the rendition.

In December, Australian financial analyst Trent Martin was arrested in Hong Kong, where he worked. He agreed to be extradited to New York soon after, but remained in jail in the city for three months before he was flown to the US.

Martin was alleged to be a key figure in an insider trading scandal involving computing giant IBM's secret US$1.2 billion takeover of software company SPSS in 2009.

In another investment fraud case, California-based Albert Hu Ke-jeng, who founded and operated hedge funds under the names Asenqua Beta Fund and Fireside LS Fund, was arrested in Hong Kong in 2009. He was later transferred to the US, where he is serving a 12-year prison term.

But the city refused a request to extradite Iranian operative Yousef Boushvash to the US after arresting him in 2008. Boushvash was accused of trying to obtain parts for F-14 fighter planes, but Beijing officials ordered his release, angering US authorities.

Most recently, Kim Dotcom, a Hong Kong permanent resident and founder of file-sharing site Megaupload, threatened to sue the Hong Kong government "because they acted for the US government when shutting down our business and freezing all our bank accounts".

He is facing a legal battle in New Zealand as the US seeks his extradition on charges of mass copyright infringement, racketeering and money laundering in connection to his website.