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  • Dec 19, 2014
  • Updated: 4:02pm
Edward Snowden
NewsHong Kong

Hong Kong minister rejects US accusations of deliberately delaying Snowden's arrest

US failed to provide information vital to processing whistle-blower's arrest

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 25 June, 2013, 9:21pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 June, 2013, 5:29am

Hong Kong’s justice secretary said on Tuesday the United States had failed to provide crucial information necessary to support its request for the arrest of whistle-blower Edward Snowden before he had left the city.

The missing information included things as basic as a confirmation of Snowden’s full name and passport number, Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung said on Tuesday.

“Up to the moment Snowden left the city, the US government had not replied to the Department of Justice’s request for the necessary information,” he said.

There was no legal basis to restrict or ban Mr Snowden from leaving Hong Kong
Secretary for Justice, Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung

“Therefore, it was impossible and there was no legal basis under Hong Kong law for the Department of Justice to ask a Hong Kong judge to sign off on a provisional arrest warrant,” Yuen said. “[Thus] there then was no legal basis to restrict or ban Mr Snowden from leaving Hong Kong.”

Yuen’s public remarks – his first on the Snowden case – came after the White House said it was disappointed with the city’s failure to arrest the fugitive whistle-blower who has made public information detailing US internet spying programmes around the world.

Snowden left Hong Kong on Sunday and is believed to be in a transit area of a Moscow airport. The former CIA contractor had previously told the Post in an exclusive report that the US had been hacking into computers in Hong Kong and China since 2009.

Yuen said the US government had not responded to Hong Kong’s request for a confirmation of Mr Snowden name and passport number even though it had mentioned that he was a US passport holder, Yuen said.

The name used in US government diplomatic documents was Edward James Snowden, the US Department of Justice referred to him as Edward J Snowden, and Hong Kong’s Immigration Department had him recorded as Edward Joseph Snowden, Yuen said.

“I couldn’t say the three names were consistent, so we needed further clarification. Otherwise, there would have been legal problems with a provisional arrest warrant,” Yuen said.

The US also failed to explain to Hong Kong authorities how two of the three charges the US mentioned in its arrest request fell within the scope of a US-Hong Kong rendition of fugitive offenders agreement signed in 1996.

The Hong Kong government on June 15 received the US request for the provisional arrest of Snowden on three charges, namely unauthorised disclosure of national defence information, unauthorised disclosure of intelligence and stealing state property.

Yuen said the US had failed to tell Hong Kong authorities which part of the agreement covered the first two charges.

He also said documents from the US made no mention of what evidence they had against Snowden, a requirement for Hong Kong courts to move ahead with a provisional arrest.

Yuen chronicled the process of how Hong Kong had been dealing with a US request for the provisional arrest of Snowden starting from June 15. He rejected US suggestions that Hong Kong had been employing delaying tactics.

Any suggestion that we deliberately let Mr Snowden get away and had done anything to obstruct normal operations is totally untrue

“We had not been deliberately delaying the process. All along, we have acted in full accordance with the law,” Yuen said.

“And any suggestion that we deliberately let Mr Snowden get away and had done anything to obstruct normal operations is totally untrue.”

He said that on June 17, Hong Kong e-mailed the US Department of Justice, saying that it was drafting a list of questions for clarifications and further details needed to process the request.

Yuen said that on June 21 – two days before Snowden left — the Security Bureau wrote to the US government asking it to clarify reports that the US had been hacking into computers in Hong Kong.

On the same afternoon, Hong Kong’s Department of Justice e-mailed and sent by speed-post to the US its request for further information to support the US request for the provisional arrest of Snowden.

As of Tuesday, Hong Kong had not received a reply from the US to this request.



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This article is now closed to comments

Carioca no Coracao
what do you expect? this is Eric Holder's DOJ which gave us
1. fast and furious, ATF with DOJ approval, shipped 2000 guns to mexican drug cartels which were used in killing our DEA agents.
2. sued and prevented Arizona for enforcing US immigration laws by letting illegal aliens, many with violent criminal record, walk the streets free.
3. giving Wall Street crooks and thieves free passes. until today, not a SINGLE wall street crook of the '08 meltdown was charged.
4. gave order to wire tap Fox News reporter James Rosen for doing investigative news reporting. first time in US history news reporting is criminal.
5. many many more....
your Rimsky is 10,000x more competent than Holder.
Once again this goes to show that America is not the super power that this Government want's to believe they are, the rest of the wold is just laughing at them. If America was so strong and had so much sway in the world today, do you not think these other countries would have made this happen for America? Instead they just said tough luck, and remember the treaties are due to be resigned here soon that should throw a whole other interesting wrench in this saga for America...
hard times !
not your primary school children,just you only since your I.Q.may be below primary school level,I am sorry to say.Don't get furious.I only try to point out the truth.'One country,two systems' is always upheld here in our beloved Hong Kong but issues related to diplomacy and defence are the matters of Beijing and Hong Kong has no say.This Snowden Gate Incident is definitely related to diplomacy and defence as well.Espionage is definitely a defence matter while the extradition of a foreigner who hasn't committed any crimes in the territory but just a common visitor who revealed something about his country's secret agencies is out of the control of our SAR administration.Our government could only act under our Basic Law but not the law of any other nations.
hard times !
Hong Kong didn't kowtow to the pressure of Uncle Sam, so did Beijing and now Russia which has no so-called extradition treaty with America but instead their relationship is quite sour and hostile to each other, I dare say.Even the small nations in the western hemishphere like Cuba,Venezuela and Ecuador have no respects towards this World Cop who is debt-ridden (with a national debt of astronomical figure) and can only print more and more greenbacks to pay for her huge expenditures on military fields.This time,Obama is both' insulted' and embarrassed by so many nations and places for a young fellow countryman named Edward Snowden who revealed his secret cyber-spying program:The Prism that angers all the nations in the world for hacking is a crime and unfriend act indeed.How can you expect others to help a thief who broke into their houses ?! The Obama administration is just naive enough to believe that 'might is right' !
I think you spelt your user name incorrectly. It should have been 'diaper'.
With your level of intelligence you certainly should be wearing one.
How does "one country two systems" become dispensed when HK acts in strict accordance with its own laws? I think it shows the complete opposite.
Rimsky and his "comrades" inslut what? The brainwash of your US primary school children?
I hope the whole international community suppoits Snowden. In USA he is a HERO.. it is on the Obama gansters that make him look bad.. because he made them look bad, and they are. Obama is a war crominal and a corrupt niggero and should be impeached, charged with treason and no one would care if he was put in a jail cell for rest of his life..except the niggeros that will loose all their free stuff
hard times !
Edward Joseph (not James of course) Snowden maybe a criminal, but he is a criminal of conscience who committed the acts of revelations of his country's intelligence top-secrets not for his own benefits but for his countrymen (or compatriots) and netizens elsewhere in the world. We Hongkongers should be proud of ourselves in this saga---------hosting him for more than a month and letting him reveal the shocking secrets to the media here in our hotel and a secret place.Finally ,our 'rule of law' and procedural fairness has made him left here safe and sound for Moscow airport where he is staying now. We should be proud of our courageous and selfless acts. We should !
The US Department of Justice fumbles the ball but still expects special treatment just like it gets from the tame courts in the US because the DOJ thinks that it's mistakes should not matter. HK, where the law matters...... Just rose on my list of places. The US takes every opportunity to prove it is not the beacon of freedom to the world but the bully to the world. Time to pivot on home.
Hong Kong authorities could not honour the extradition request unless they have some statute in their own law that corresponds with the alleged violation of US law.
Let me guess. You're one of those pro American government blowhards that think Snowden should be quickly arrested and convicted without due process?

Furthermore the US trampled on HK people's rights and BROKE HK LAW you nationalistic gasbag. Let's also not forget that the NSA also violated the 4th amendment of the US constitution.

Secretary for Justice Rimsky was under no obligation to make a snap judgment with regards to Snowden. Considering the circumstances, I think the HK government acted rather quickly and respected Snowden's human rights.
"This will go down in history as when the "two systems" were practically dispensed with and Hong Kong became integrated into the PRC propaganda machine. The comments of Rimsky Yuen and his fellow comrades insult the intelligence of my primary school children.
Think what you will of the US and its Prism programme, but this will be an indelible stain on Hong Kong's standing in the world."

dlapiper you are totally disingenuous and shameless. The US government provided HK absolutely no evidence, and didn't even get Snowden's name right!

Maybe in the USA there is no more due process, but it certainly exists in HK! HK will not meekly hand Snowden over simply because Eric Holder arrogantly demands it! We follow the rule of law here.
This day will be the day HK stood up for everyone whose privacy and rights is being violated by a shamless hyprocritical mass murdering gov't, piper. I know you are **** because your spine is aching from trying to stand straight.
Well done for HK. Am proud!
Edward Snowden, is a spy, a spy for freedom, a spy for the people of the USA and the world. He is a hero. Hong Kong did not only do the right thing, but the best thing possible. Whether or not it used the name and passport number thing as an excuse or a reason is irrelevant, HK did the right thing.
No need to be personal or uncivilized name-calling! Just state your case!
Well done Hong Kong for following the rule of Law. Thumbs up...
Considerations about Snowden's actions, and whether they were right or wrong, and whether the US is right or wrong to use covert programs, are of course very important. However my concern is about the time taken for the HK authorities to come up with the questions it wanted answers to, which seems very long. What about if this had been a case of a criminal involved in drugs, illegal arms trading, or people traf****? This kind of delay would make it simple for such a criminal to slip out of HK, certainly not to our credit.
Disingenuous b.s. from a trained barrister. It took your department 6 days to come up with those questions? Why couldn't you give Holder a heads up when you spoke to him the day before instead of giving him the impression you'd cooperate fully? The answer is obvious. By waiting until Friday to pose your questions you maximize your chances of creating an excuse to let Snowden escape. If you really wanted to cooperate with the U.S. you could have done so. This was deliberate obfuscation. You wanted this hot potato off the Chinese plate.
**** off you **** of a troll. You're not even an American? So why are you so personally invested in this story then?

You're better educated about American rights than I am? You're merely stating your opinion like I am you sack of ****.

Also despite that troll bomb you posted above, you still failed to defend against the fact that the US violated HK law. The US was handled by HK and China in exactly the manner that they deserved.

I think it was reasonable for HK officials to take their sweet time with handling the extradition. It was also acceptable to the legal community as a whole. Nobody is screaming about it except pig headed Americans such as yourself who are mad that their Big Daddy Uncle Sam didn't have their way with HK.
Like I said already: **** off.
John Adams
Precisely so !
Check USA domestic news as to what is going on in the USA these days ( and especially as the DOJ)
Believable !
Rimsky may not be the model of efficiency and moral perfection, but by comparison to Holder he is both a genius and and an angel
This will go down in history as when the "two systems" were practically dispensed with and Hong Kong became integrated into the PRC propaganda machine. The comments of Rimsky Yuen and his fellow comrades insult the intelligence of my primary school children.
Think what you will of the US and its Prism programme, but this will be an indelible stain on Hong Kong's standing in the world.
Why didn't the US respond quickly if this matter is important?
The intrigue is delightful.
If a cop in the US writes your name/date/location/license number wrong on a parking ticket, you don't have to pay
Hong Kong should have kept Snowden and flipped the US a royal bird.
The statement by the Secretary of Justice is a dumb explanation based on technicality.
Sticks Evans
What about all the money laundering in Hong Kong Banks.? The unfair treatment of foreign workers? Racism against Mainlanders? The NSA shares info tel with China and China is helping in Afghanistan. Intel is collected by all powers including the HK PD. Wake up. Snowden is a guy looking for attention and wants to cause chaos. China wants it to go away so fat Americans keep buying fat food and extra large clothing.
Let me guess. You're a misguided bleeding heart flower child who spent too much time smoking ganja in Goa or your way back from being kicked out of your Peace Corps assignment in Nepal. Sorry, that gives you too much credit since Peace Corps actually requires some substantive chops. I should say after being kicked out of your cult's fecal water purification project. You don't know if Snowden had evidence that constitutes a violation of anything in the Bill of Rights. All of that is pure speculation until examined objectively in a court of law and for now, those are all allegations based on the conclusions of a contractor who didn't even graduate from high school without a GED. As for what I want for that contractor? Slow death at the hands of some brutal cell mate of course. Even if it's just in a holding cell. I don't care whether he is convicted or not.
By the way, unlike you, I'm not even American. Just better educated about American rights and law than you are.
Sticks Evans
Court of law? That's a good one. The courts are a joke wherever you are
Take it easy. Learn how to put your case across without being offensive and personal. You detracted from the nice piece that you earlier wrote by such foul language.
Snowden's allegations of violations of Hong Kong law haven't been proven any more than have his allegations of violations of the Bill of Rights.
My, my. We seem to have a true vulgarian on our hands here. My guess must have been close to home to have caused so much frothing. Yapping and swearing like a mad mongrel only serves to emphasize your lack of sophistication and education.
You shouldn't have come into the kitchen in the first place if you can't stand the heat.
After the past few days reading these comments, most, if not all of my doubt has been removed as to why this model of altruism selected Hong Kong in the first place. In one fell swoop he enjoyed the power of Beijing as he was being shielded by the naivety of Hong Kong. Brilliant!
Sticks Evans
Hong Kong is run by rich people for rich people. Don't fool yourself. No better or perhaps worse than U.s. in the courts.
HK Government are Butt-Boys for Beijing. Now, Assume the position.....
Sticks Evans
The minister of injustice. Just ask and domestic worker.
Hong Kong let him go cos China told them to. Simples. Despite the rhetoric, it's probably a good outcome for the US too. Wikileaks have gobbled him up (whoever they are) and he'll either disappear or be spat out like a pieceof indigestable well-chewed pork. The only thing that we know for sure is that the world now knows the sham that was One Country, Two Systems is just that.
Well, it wasn't drugs, arms, or people traf****, it was a person, who needed help and got it, whether intentionally or by lucky circumstance. As for the length of time taken, who knows how long these things take, I am sure in such a controversial case HK authorities wanted every i dotted and every t crossed properly. The USA failed to do it in the first place, so they only have themselves to blame.
Sticks Evans
All lawyers are hacks
Your HK Minister is Full of ****
s H I T
Carioca no Coracao
You can't accept that even as a movie plot! What a shame!
Must be sitting on your head everyday!
This is one sad bloke sitting on his head everyday!!
I think he is not even entitle to wearing a diaper. We should not insult the little ones, for those who are wearing diapers are certainly more intelligent than this guy.


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