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  • Dec 19, 2014
  • Updated: 10:15am
Edward Snowden
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
 

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  • 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

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This article is now closed to comments

hongkiejj@malaysiaboleh
Edward...whatever info u have on hand, I would strongly advise you not to disclose any further. If it is damaging to your country , u r officially toasted. Your intention is to let the people know the truth about NSA. Let your fellow countrymen decide what is right or wrong. You have accomplished your task and your strong convictions. For dat I respect. As far as what NSA is doing especially with spying on foreign countries, I am against dat. They have no business and should mind their own business. Lame excuse if I may add.
You have made the right choice coming to HK although many disagree. Whatever the verdict is..I can only wish you all the best.
lara
Mr. Snowden, you may mean well but be careful with what you reveal. If you cause harm to others or they are killed because of your statements, you are no better than the bureau you are taking this information from. If you think other countries will treat your fairly, think again - they will bleed all the information from you and then cast you aside. I'm speaking truth and I know - so my advice would be to stop. All governments have their problems - there probably isn't one that is totally clean. I would also do a lot of praying - read the Gideon Bible in your hotel room, you might find it interesting as to the future of this old world.
mymak
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?
mymak
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.
200meters
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!
mymak
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.
lessbush
Traitor, you could choose to stay in Hong Kong, but then your fate would be decided by a little drone.
bluefirestorm
Are you kidding me?!?! Hong Kong people cannot even have a direct hand on deciding on who their Chief Executive should be and now you want HK people to decide your fate?!?!?! You are just trying to play this card for sympathy!
Snowden, who do you think you are?!?!
You are an American, an American idiot!!!
Leave Hong Kong now and face the consequences of your actions. If you are lucky, you might get your high school diploma while in prison!
jb.nightwish
No matter what happens, just don't be afraid. To live fairly is to trust and cherish the place one lives in. To "live" as one's will is to seek for a place where the old things never reach, even in the after life. If you care about now, don't be bothered by the future or the after future. If you care about the truth and justice, they are not to be realized by time, but by every single livings with time.
almeltd@yahoo.com
He Shoud not be handed over to USA.
He have given freedom to all humanity.
Hong Kong is free country and all Hong Kong people should speak out for him.

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