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  • Sep 20, 2014
  • Updated: 10:58pm
Edward Snowden
NewsHong Kong

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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This article is now closed to comments

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.
Hey, who needs good relations with the largest economy in the world? Not me! I don't care if my competitors from Singapore, Taiwan or Japan can just jump on a plane at a moment's notice and sign business deals in New York or Silicon Valley while I wait in the heat and rain outside the U.S. consulate in Garden Road; my potential business partners in the U.S. can just send me a fax instead. And all those lousy U.S. universities my kids won't be able to attend or, if they are accepted, I won't be able to visit easily? That's fine, too. Tsinghua University or Melbourne Polytechnic will be happy to receive our tuition dollars. Just because 9 of the top 10 largest companies in the world are headquartered in the U.S. and the U.S. is the largest recipient of foreign direct investment in the world doesn't bother me in the least: the Chinese Communist Party, who I trust completely to look after my interests rather than their own and their cronies', has got my back.
You are 1 out of 8 millions who want good relationship with the US. You may not care, but all of us do.
The US and its deficit spending are not sustainable you arrogant stooge. The US won't be the world's largest economy for long if it keeps up its arrogant bossy attitude up.

"the Chinese Communist Party, who I trust completely to look after my interests rather than their own and their cronies', has got my back." Yeah just like you trust the US government completely and have nothing to hide. That's why you don't mind being wiretapped without a warrant by the NSA.

Go pound sand you smarmy stooge and stop with the strawmen and red herrings.
Your clever response is pretty funny. I enjoyed it. Now, please pass the bong. Thank you!
I'd rather not pass you the bong. I fear that you might fail your next drug test and then would have to suffer through another humiliating teabagging due to your moment of weakness.

You probably secretly love getting teabagged though. Don't forget to open wide!
Obama does not, nor did he ever want Snowden arrested. Obama is the one who put Snowden and his leaks out there in the first place.
How do you figure?
"Interpol watching list must be respected"

Snowden was never on any Interpol watch list. You pretty much lost all credibility by making that statement. Interpol has issued NO RED NOTICE against Snowden. Interpol considers espionage a political crime
So much for being an "international law expert" when you can't even keep track of the fact that there's no Interpol notice.

I really hope you aren't a real professor because you are truly doing your students a disservice.

What about the fact that the US government is trampling all over our rule of law by illegally spying on our citizens? The kind of people that are crawling out of the woodwork to defend the USA are truly unbelievable!
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.




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