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  • Dec 26, 2014
  • Updated: 1:43pm
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

I just want the US to answer why they were snooping in our cyberspace...It can't be that tough can it???
thanks to MFSOB richard cheney. the biggest war criminal in human history
yes the usa trusted hong kong so much previously they spent time, money and resources on spying on us
what a f u k i n buffoon
Yeah I hope it keeps up too. All things considered, HK is a pretty free place. The USA has a fake democracy where voters basically have the choice of two Presidential candidates, and that's it. Even if Americans vote in the opposition candidate, the same old terrible policies continue with the new administration and any election promises are quickly broken.

If Beijing is pragmatic enough to allow at least one non provocative pan democrat to stand in the 2017 election, then HK will truly have a democracy that'll meet international standards.
Hong Kong immigration services become suddenly much less concerned by the rule of law when it comes to barring Chinese dissidents or pro-democracy activists from entering the city... In such cases, any sloppy procedure can do !
hard times !
it is no wonder that the US army is not allowed the access to The Guardian website which was one of the first media to report the revelations of Snowden---a 29-year-old (actually he is 30 now) hacker as described by the boss of the largest hacker in the world ,the NSA of America. From this fact, all the netizens in the world can be sure that what Snowden revealed was truth and nothing but the truth.It also explains why the Obama adminstration has never denied what Snowden revealed openly to the world up till now !
Sticks Evans
I use my face because I am not hiding jerk off or coward? Hong Kong is as lawless as anywhere else. The law is for the rich here don't fool yourself.

You and many others here are trashing events all the time. Bottom feeders. Yeah we are all hacked daily by all security services including from up north. Yeah america is a mess so what.
Do you have anything positive to say about anyone else but your own little world?
Doubt it.
The US has always acted as a big bully. Now,everything is out in the open. But the US is shameless. it is basking in the glory of its technology prowees. But the brains are Indians. The Prism software has been developed by an Indian. Even the software for digging the surface of Mars was developed by an Indian scientist working for NASA.
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.
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.



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