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  • Oct 1, 2014
  • Updated: 11:06pm
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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hard times !
our court is not so sloopy as yours in America nor our police ! To pracitse.' rule of law' (which seems to exist in America), our police and our department of justice have to get accurate information about the culprit or suspected criminal before bringing the case to the court. 'Sloopy' attitude in treating serious crime is never our practice---maybe it is normal and routine in YOUR country----------a declining empire, I dare say.
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.
Sticks Evans
You have to be the most arrogant commenter I have ever read. Perhaps Beijing is correct to censor as they do. The level of comments here is so low you have won. Your arrogance is unlimited and is not worth anyone's time anymore. Good luck with democracy when you get it.
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.
Artline500
What is all of this stupid s**t about someone named Snowden, for several days now. Who is Snowden? Why is it so important? What kind of crappy tabloid type newspaper was I somehow brainwashed into subscribing to? This newspaper is just a bunch of silly ****.
hard times !
Snowden is neve a s...as you yourself is and will be forever ! Look at the mirror to see how nasty and mean plus evil you look ! Okay ? Shame on you and your trash words uttered /barked here which seriously polluting our Comment column ! Shame on you again !
blue
Yes of course. It's so much better for HK media to follow the US model where the US media rally around the US government and denounce Snowden as a traitor and pollute the jury pool in order to guarantee that he'll never have a fair trial.

You're either a fool or a CIA plant.
Sticks Evans
you are a moron.

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