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  • Dec 26, 2014
  • Updated: 6:55pm
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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norodnik
On a similar note in today's Guardian story on Eichmann - 'in 2006, the CIA released documents showing that it wrote to its West German counterpart in 1958, saying it had information that Eichmann "is reported to have lived in Argentina under the alias 'Clemens' since 1952". Eichmann's alias was Ricardo Klement.'
If you don't get the name right....things just don't happen...
captam
Who their right mind wants to visit the almost lawless and dangerous gun-toting USA? They are doing Hongkongers a favour by not granting visa-free access.
Better still, impose a visa requirement here on Americans. We can then sift out the CIA spies.
hard times !
how would you explain the hackings committed by the NSA of America into our Internet Exchange at Chinese Univ.which is a hub of our servers which handle over 90% of our web passages and the hackings into our public officials:the ministers,Exco.& Legco members,committee chairmen,NPC delegates &CPPCC members ; businessmen(big shots and pro-China ones) and even students ? Are/Were our students suspected of being terrorists ? Besides, as Mr.Snowden is the most wanted man of the Obama administration,how could important documents sent here bearing his names carried three different versions ? Right ? Negligence of duties of the DOJ can never explain it !
goncalo
HK has lost confidence in the US, and for a good reason. The decline of the rule of law in the US (remember Guantanamo?) is part of the process of America's putrefaction.
blue
People like PCC is why the world thinks all Americans are unbearable arrogant holier than thou stooges who are quick to criticize others but never bother to look at their own nation's faults. You really have no credibility.

Besides no matter what you say, the US government is just paying lip service to the rule of law. The fact that the US is more than happy to violate the law in other countries is proof of this without a reasonable doubt.

The Snowden saga is really bringing out some "Ugly Americans" out of the woodwork. Go back to your hole you disgusting and disingenuous troll.
teshan123
You are 1 out of 8 millions who want good relationship with the US. You may not care, but all of us do.
whatever
Help, police! That man there stole my laptop!
Ok, do you have his name, last name first, middle, first name last, and his HKID number with the check digit? I can't chase him until you provide all those things, along with a receipt showing that you owned the laptop and other proof that he actually took it. I'm waiting....
Seriously?
hard times !
If a society or a country is geniunely ruled by law,no one will just be arrested because he/she looks like the wanted man ! In Qing Dynasty, the wanted man's portrait was posted on walls of the city entrance for people to identify.If anyone looked like him/her, he/she might be arrested for interrogation.But now we are in the 21st century,to comply with the spirit of 'rule of law', the suspect's full name and passport number (if he/she is a foreigner) has to be checked carefully before any so-called provisional arrest can be executed. Besides, our police is to execute their duties according to the law of Hong Kong and not America's law ! America is never our boss ! Here is Hong Kong which is a part of China and not a dependent territory of America ! Understand ?
yty07
I personally don't believe there is a government in the world who can do everything in accordance to the law. There must be a dark side or grey area, especially in consideration of their so-called national security or interests. For this case in particular, the HK government certainly didn't want to hand in Snowden to the U.S. (with the instructions from Beijing), and the several mistakes in the requesting procedure from the U.S. have given HK a very good excuse to not carry out the extradition, and these mistakes are truly undeniable. US should blame themselves on why so careless. The exchange of words after Snowden left shows US really like a spoiled child. US should have learned a lesson from this. HK is not one of their allies whom they can manipulate anytime whenever they want. Yet, the real controller is China instead.
hard times !
Even a non-professor such as this Old Hong Kong well knows that according to our 'One Country,two systems', matters related to defence are the concern of the Central authorities.We have no say at all.This so-called Prof.Caligiuri (might probably another ignorant egghead of a college in States only) is trying to mislead our dear readers now ! Shame on this old guy down below.The extradition signed between Hong Kong and the States is not applicable to this Snowden case at all------the charges of espionage concerns defence.That explains why our leaker-hero is accused of being a 'traitor' by that dying old fool---Cheney as a traitor earlier on for disclosing so-called defence secrets and confidential secrets to unauthorized persons (including reporters of SCMP on June 22nd ).

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