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  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 7:28pm
Edward Snowden
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Hong Kong lawmakers blast US request for Snowden arrest as 'sloppy'

Lawmakers reject Washington’s criticism of Hong Kong’s handling of case, while Obama dismisses whistle-blower as a ‘hacker’

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 29 June, 2013, 8:09am

Hong Kong lawmakers yesterday lambasted the American government's "loose practice of the rule of law", even as a top US diplomat warned of difficulties ahead in mending relations between the city and Washington.

Amid the war of words, US President Barack Obama sought to downplay the international chase for whistle-blower Edward Snowden, dismissing Snowden as "a 29-year-old hacker".

Snowden, who is now 30, is wanted on espionage charges for leaking details of secret US government surveillance.

How could the US government issue documents each bearing three different names for Snowden? This shows their practice is sloppy.
Lawmaker, barrister Ronny Tong Ka-wah SC

The US government had accused Hong Kong officials of feigning confusion over Snowden's name as a pretext for not detaining him before he fled to Russia. A US Department of Justice spokeswoman said the city's request for clarification and additional information was not genuine as images of the former US intelligence contractor were widely available through news outlets.

"Hong Kong cannot simply rely on Snowden's picture to confirm his identity. It would be a serious mistake if the Hong Kong government arrested the wrong person," said pan-democratic lawmaker and barrister Ronny Tong Ka-wah SC.

The US government could not expect Hong Kong officials to make an arrest based on media photos of Snowden, he said, criticising the US Department of Justice for "not understanding and respecting Hong Kong's legal system and the spirit of rule of law".

"It is ridiculous for the US - which always brags about their respect for human rights - to be so loose in handling the request for Snowden's arrest. How could the US government issue documents each bearing three different names for Snowden? This shows their practice is sloppy."

US consul-general Stephen Young said that he had spent three years in Hong Kong working for a good relationship between the city and the US, which had now suffered "a loss of trust".

Rebuilding that trust, Young said, "is not going to be easy," adding that, "where we have a whole series of agreements, and protocols and practices - our confidence has been shaken."

Lawmaker Ip Kwok-him, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said the US government was "shameless" for heaping accusations against Hong Kong to dodge questions about cybersnooping in the city and on the mainland. "The US government is talking nonsense," he said.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying rejected the accusation that Hong Kong had a pretext for delaying the request for Snowden's arrest. The city's officials were following the principle of procedural justice when it asked the US government to provide information on Snowden, he said.

At a news conference in Dakar, Senegal, Obama made light of the matter, saying the US would not be scrambling jets or engaging in diplomatic bartering to get Snowden extradited. He said the damage to national security had already been done and his focus now was making sure it could not happen again.

"I'm not going to have one case with a suspect who we're trying to extradite suddenly be elevated to the point where I've got to start doing wheeling and dealing and trading on a whole host of other issues, simply to get a guy extradited," Obama said.

Obama said he hadn't called President Xi Jinping or Russian President Vladimir Putin to request their co-operation, saying: "I shouldn't have to."

Obama said such matters are routinely dealt with at a law-enforcement level, calling Snowden's extradition "not exceptional from a legal perspective."

 

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blue
Arresting people without any care whether or not the name is correct sets a HORRIBLE precedent. Figures a Pro American government stooge like yourself would suggest it.

In the USA people mistakenly get placed on "no fly lists" all the time due to similar mix ups. They are then subject through years of hell and restricted travel.

The HK government is under no obligation to authorize a provisional arrest warrant, if it suspects the crime is political in nature since it's against the extradition treaty. The only one in violation of HK law is the US government for illegally spying on HK citizens!

Go back to your hole. Detaining people is a serious matter and the Basic Law guarantees freedom of movement unless there is probable cause supporting criminal activity.
The number of smarmy shameless defenders of a fading superpower invading the SCMP is just staggering! The CIA must be really busy this week to try to discredit our rule of law.
blue
This egomaniac was making it all about himself in another article related to Snowden by complaining that his rights were violated by the hospital authority. Yeah sure buddy.

Also maybe you should also ask the british colonial government on why they weren't enforcing illegal structures laws either. Besides private property protections trump any kind of law relating to illegal structures. Also please don't confuse civil infractions with giving someone accused of a political crime due process!

Regardless, no matter how much bile you spew, HK has far greater respect for the rule of law than the USA. The USA has no respect for the rule of law and will routinely play fast and loose with the law if they think they can get away with it. Well this time the USA was caught red handed!
hard times !
of course their so-called practice is sloopy to the extreme.If this mr.Snowden is really their most wanted man-----so-called 'a 29-year-old hacker' compared to the largest hacker in the world :the National Security Agency of America which is directly responsible to President Obama and his National Intelligence Committee----why their documents sent here bearing three different names of the most wanted man: Edward J.Snowden, Edward James Snowden and Edward Joseph Snowden ? I wonder.
whymak
Everyone uses rule of law to rationalize his own bias. Here is my take.
There is more than prima facie evidence that the US has violated HK law by spying on our citizens and institutions. Our Justice Department must now enforce the law. It has no choice but to subpoena those NSA scumbags, including draft dodger - 5 time deferment - Dickhead Cheney. (Sorry about that, the dumb computer censored his name.) Yes, we have every right to hold Snowden as material witness and deny US request for extradition. While we have just cause to request extradition of alleged US violators without diplomatic immunity, will the US comply with terms bound by 1996 treaty?
In the end, it will be all about realpolitik, nothing more and nothing less.
Carparklee
Totally agree to Tong's comment about the sloppy quality or probably arrogant working attitude. In fact, from President Obama's comment made in South Africa on the case, though not a vivid one, he kind of put the things into an execution level problem that he could not be more careless about it let it alone to further raise it with his counterparts at an higher diplomatic level. Civil servants in the US, wouldn't it be a heads-up to you? Improve the work accuracy and respect about the counter-party in the future, please.
robaston
How many people have been extradited from the US to Hong Kong or surrendered from Hong Kong to the US without a middle name and full passport number? Given his picture was in all the world media, on banners in Causeway Bay and Central and was being represented by one of the most high profile Hong Kong lawmakers I think somehow "Edward Snowden" was adequate for a positive identification which is all HK law requires. I mean are we seriously saying the HK Government was worried about arresting the wrong guy, seriously does anyone here actually believe they were genuinely worried about arresting the wrong guy.
If a person is arrested or prosecuted in Hong Kong, if their name is spelt wrong the court will simply change it. Established law in Hong Kong does not require a middle name or passport number. Its just another pathetic attempt to hide Beijing interference in Hong Kong's rule of law. Only in this case most people agree with the fugitive's crimes. Thats cultural revolution thinking, if the people shouting loudly agree with the crimes of someone then they have immunity.
blue
HK is in charge of border control and legally can decide to refuse entry of anyone for any reason. That's not the same thing as ensuring someone who is accused of a political crime is given due process.
hard times !
now Snowden's father must be under great pressure to summon his dear son home while claiming his son might be betraying the US government but never the American people who should be grateful to his disclosures of the large-scale surveillance of their government upon them on their internet and smart phones---seriously violating their privacy on the pretext of anti-terrorism or so-called national security.I remember this whistle-blower had once said in Hong Kong that he believed he wouldn't receive a fair trial----since he has been accused of treason and a traitor as well.The total jail terms of his three charges amount to 30 years in total----a lifelong imprisonment is awaiting him or even execution maybe.
norodnik
Close the barn doors! All the horses have run out....story from dubdubdub rt.com
US Army restricts access to Guardian website over secrets in NSA leak stories
The US Army confirmed on Thursday that access to The Guardian newspaper’s website has been filtered and restricted for its personnel. The policy is due to classified documents described in detail in the stories.
Gordon Van Vleet, spokesman for the Army Network Enterprise Technology Command, or NETCOM, said in an email to the Monterey Herald that the Army is filtering "some access to press coverage and online content about the NSA leaks."
The spokesman said the procedure was routine part of "network hygiene" measures to prevent unauthorized disclosures of sensitive information.
hard times !
dealt with at a law-enforcement level ? yet we all know that in a law-abiding society which observes a geniune,'rule of law', there won't be any accusations against a suspect who hasn't been properly /fairly tried by the court. Of course, Snowden's extradition is exceptional from a legal perspective here in Hong Kong-----never a formal request of his so-called extradition (except a phone call from the Department of Justice of US to our Secretary for Justice,Mr.Yuen,an experienced barrister.) nor proper and sufficient documents concerning his extradiction sent here (up till now no clarification has been received by our Department of Justice) The notification to our Immigration Dept.that Snowden's passport was revoked was received yesterday ( a few days after Snowden left here in a legal way with his American passport !)

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