• Sat
  • Apr 19, 2014
  • Updated: 5:26am

Edward Snowden

30-year-old American Edward Snowden, a contract employee at the National Security Agency, is the whistleblower behind significant revelations that surfaced in June 2013 about the US government's top secret, extensive domestic surveillance programmes. Snowden flew to Hong Kong from Hawaii in May 2013, and supplied confidential US government documents to media outlets including the Guardian

NewsHong Kong

Whistle-blower Edward Snowden tells SCMP: 'Let Hong Kong people decide my fate'

Ex-CIA operative wants to remain in Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 June, 2013, 10:31pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 June, 2013, 8:24pm
 

Poll

  • Yes: 15%
  • No: 85%
13 Jun 2013
  • Yes
  • No
Total number of votes recorded: 293

Edward Snowden says he wants to ask the people of Hong Kong to decide his fate after choosing the city because of his faith in its rule of law.

The 29-year-old former CIA employee behind what might be the biggest intelligence leak in US history revealed his identity to the world in Hong Kong on Sunday. His decision to use a city under Chinese sovereignty as his haven has been widely questioned – including by some rights activists in Hong Kong.

Snowden said last night that he had no doubts about his choice of Hong Kong.

“People who think I made a mistake in picking Hong Kong as a location misunderstand my intentions. I am not here to hide from justice; I am here to reveal criminality,” Snowden said in an exclusive interview with the South China Morning Post.

“I have had many opportunities to flee HK, but I would rather stay and fight the United States government in the courts, because I have faith in Hong Kong’s rule of law,” he added.

Snowden says he has committed no crimes in Hong Kong and has “been given no reason to doubt [Hong Kong’s legal] system”.

“My intention is to ask the courts and people of Hong Kong to decide my fate,” he said.

I have had many opportunities to flee HK, but I would rather stay and fight the United States government in the courts, because I have faith in Hong Kong’s rule of law

Snowden, a former employee of US government contractor Booz Allen Hamilton who worked with the National Security Agency, boarded a flight to Hong Kong on May 20 and has remained in the city ever since.

His astonishing confession on Sunday sparked a media frenzy in Hong Kong, with journalists from around the world trying to track him down. It has also caused a flurry of debate in the city over whether he should stay and whether Beijing will seek to interfere in a likely extradition case.

The Hong Kong government has so far refused to comment on Snowden’s case. While many Hong Kong lawmakers, legal experts, activists and members of the public have called on the city’s courts to protect Snowden’s rights, others such as Beijing loyalist lawmaker and former security chief Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee said he should leave.

Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor director Law Yuk-kai said he was surprised by Snowden’s choice, adding: “Snowden’s positive view of Hong Kong no longer matches the reality.”

Law said a possible reason for his choice could be Hong Kong’s role as the region’s news hub.

“Hong Kong remains a hub of the global media, not least because of its proximity to the economic boom in southern China and the ease of access to many other Asian cities. The publicity could complicate efforts by the United States to charge Snowden and have him deported,” he said.

Snowden said yesterday that he felt safe in the city.

“As long as I am assured a free and fair trial, and asked to appear, that seems reasonable,” he said.

He says he plans to stay in Hong Kong until he is “asked to leave”.

The United States has not yet filed an application for extradition.

Snowden could choose to fight any extradition attempt in court. Another option open to him is to seek refugee status from the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Hong Kong.

The UNHCR would not confirm whether it had received an application for refugee status from Snowden.

Earlier, in the interview in which he revealed his identity to the world, Snowden explained that he had sought refuge in Hong Kong because it “has a strong tradition of free speech” and “a long tradition of protesting in the streets”.

Local activists plan to take to the streets on Saturday in support of Snowden. Groups including the Civil Human Rights Front and international human rights groups will march from Chater Gardens in Central to the US consulate on Garden Road, starting at 3pm.

The march is being organised by In-media, a website supporting freelance journalists.

“We call on Hong Kong to respect international legal standards and procedures relating to the protection of Snowden; we condemn the US government for violating our rights and privacy; and we call on the US not to prosecute Snowden,” the group said in a statement.

Additional reporting by Lai Ying-kit

Share

Related topics

34

This article is now closed to comments

the sun also rises
This Old Hong Kong thinks that most Hongkongers with sense and conscience should welcome this leaker of the cyber-spying on us since 2009 by the National Security Bureau of Ameica on the excuse of anti-terrorism.Actually,the 4 million netizens' personal secrets on mobile phone calls plus their messages or info. on the internet communications may have been monitored or stolen through the invasion of the Hong Kong Internet Exchange located at Chinese Univ. by the hackers of NSA in the past four years ! We are victims of such hackings--a violation of our privacy.As Hongkong is not known for any terrorists but value freedom of expression.the invasion of our internet activities can not be excused at all.It is known that even our students' websites/e-mail accounts were monitored/invaded by the NSA ! Is it a violation of human rights which America used to promote ? I wonder.So,the safety of Mr.Snowden should be guaranteed and his whereabouts should be kept as a top secret ! We all have to be more cautious and careful about the security of our e-communications on computer or mobile phones from now on ! Cyber-spying is a soft tyranny used by modern government to control their people's acts and thoughts as well ! Beware of it !
anson
PCC its just so predictable, cliched and silly - what other words are there? Because we don't support constant disruptive marching does not mean we do not support democracy. This is the problem with your movement in Hong Kong. You are not in touch with the majority. You do not understand ordinary people's needs. What you are actually supporting is Anarchy, not democracy.
The police are too loose but that is because they are frightened, as is the Government, that any suggestion that marches need to be curtailed will be seen as some type of infringement on the freedoms of Hong Kong people. Reality is that this constant marching is turning many of us off the democracy movement in Hong Kong. Every single issue does not need a march. Snowden is one individual - we don't need a march. People can express their concerns, beliefs, through other means.
So PCC we should be able to make simple comments without risking falling victims to the Democratic facists. And if you gain power that is what you will be. No understanding of ordinary people and no care for ordinary people. Every aspect of life politicized and highlighted for your own egotistical benefit. Are you sure your name isn't Snowden?
anson
So, another march this weekend. It's like a hobby for HK's protestors. Urban hiking. Do we really need to have protest marches to prove our freedom? Other countries that have more than one city have laws on their books restricting such activity for the simple reason that it disrupts the enjoyment and creates disruption for the majority of residents. In Hong Kong, that's it. Only one city. Only one centre. We really should restrict protests to maybe just once a month. Alternatively legalize the use of paintball guns by members of the general public on Serial Protestors.
XYZ
Marchers must apply to the government (police) for a permit to march. If you believe the government is too loose in granting such permits, then you should register your disapproval by voting them out of office. Er, never mind.
candyxiejining@hotmail.com
This could be a well-designed plan for Snowden. Let's think about it in this way: he must bring a lot of money to sustain his stay in Hong Kong, given the high living cost. Additionally, he is still staying in so called "luxury" hotel. Who supports him and gives him this huge amount of money?
donwoo3838
Our society opted to give safe haven to the Chinese students and "democrats" who fled Beijing after the 1989 Tiananmen incident, and has supported such actions all along.....these people are viewed as traitors by their government.
Why would we apply a double standard when an American youth fleeing his country for being viewed by his government as a traitor comes to HK?
Welcome him, protect him. and tell our Government that we want to offer him shelter until he gets a fair hearing!
anson
You have to look at each case based on what type of perceived treachery. To compare the student leaders of 1989 with an unhappy US Gov't. employee is to do the student protesters a disservice. They made an ideological stand. Snowden is simply complaining about a certain practice of his Government. He agreed to abide by a certain law regarding secrecy when he signed on and took the pay cheque. It wouldn't be a case of not applying double standards if we simply allow him to stay because he opposes his government/employer, it would be a dangerous precedent. Let's really not apply double standards - one for wealthy Westerners with contractual disputes and one for impoverished Asian or African dissidents.
XYZ
Mr. Snowden will almost certainly be "surrendered" to the US by the Hong Kong authorities and then he is going to spend a long, long time, probably the rest of his life, in jail.
lessbush
Traitor, you could choose to stay in Hong Kong, but then your fate would be decided by a little drone.
the sun also rises
Maybe this Snowden's fate will not be decided by Hongkongers.Instead now he is being arranged to be extradicted back to America by both sides (America and Hong Kong" lawyers on charges up to several dozens including leaking national secrets which apply to both places:Hong Kong and America.Perhaps he will soon be arrested and has to ask for help from local human rights lawyers and other righteous people who will help him to stay here as long as possible to avoid being brought back to America for questionings/tortures or even jailed for a long time.Let us uphold our freedom of expression by lending him a hand and walk to the streets on coming Saturday to the U.S.Consulate and Govt.H.Q.to support his stay here in Hong Kong---a place praised by Snowden as one that is 'ruled by law' and has freedom of speech. Let us help this tragic hero---Mr.Edward Snowden in any ways we can.Cyber survellience on commoners during peace-time is illegal and violating people's privacy---only autocratic countries would keep an eye on their people's words and acts before persecuting them ! Right ? Big Brotehr is watching us !

Pages

Login

SCMP.com Account

or