• Wed
  • Oct 1, 2014
  • Updated: 6:39pm
Edward Snowden
NewsHong Kong
LAW

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."

 

Share

Related topics

More on this story

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive
 
 

 

67

This article is now closed to comments

Paradox314
US President Barack Obama sought to downplay the international chase for whistle-blower Edward Snowden, dismissing Snowden as "a 29-year-old hacker". YES!! Absolutely correct. And who was this 'hacker' working for? - He was breaking the law hacking into our computers for YOU Mr. OBAMA!!
Carparklee
Yeah, indeed no one dares or has evidence to 'verdict' Mr. Snowden as a hacker except his ex-real employer since he was hired to do what he had been ordered: hacker? Now we know. .. Well he might be one but definitely the one with conscience.
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 ).
dng18dng18
I just want the US to answer why they were snooping in our cyberspace...It can't be that tough can it???
richieskerr
While I wouldn't say that the United States has become completely lawless in its international dealings, it's recent history of conducting undeclared wars around the globe, has resulted in its playing somewhat fast and loose, with the niceties of international law. Undoubtedly with its Alice and Wonderland attitude of "first the verdict, then the trial", it becomes irritated and moody when confronted by nations and states that follow the proper legal requirements of their own laws, and the well known procedures of international law. The United States placed demands on Hong Kong for the extradition of the whistleblower, Edward Snowden, even before they had submitted criminal charges. It would be illegal for the United States to demand extradition of U. S. citizens just on a whim, without having filed criminal charges. it is markedly disingenuous for the United States to expect Hong Kong authorities not to review a case for extradition thoroughly before granting the request. If any party was too slow at following procedures it was the Unites States. Edward Snwden is not a spy, or a terrorist, he is a whistleblower, and the court of World opinion has already reviewed the case, and has judged this to be true.
HiggsSinglet
thanks to MFSOB richard cheney. the biggest war criminal in human history
Laisee.com.hk
go HK! Finally stepping up!...
commenters, careful what you say, uncle sam is watching...!
aplucky1
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
PROF.CALIGIURI
The Us and HK ( China) have signed an extradition treaty on December 20, 1996,Mr. Snowden is fugitive from Justice ,he never showed any sign of human rights violation he just took some files who shake the world with him and go, if he was a Russian, Latin American or any other nation fugitive he would have been jailed .
Any country in the world is doing electronic surveillance to protect national interest and veil international security, the all world is distressed by this matter who is purely a Police matter ,in Russia someone who took American confidential file is not a criminal because he did not pay them …..but such sensitive file would affect the security of all Asia , the world maybe and in future can cause security loophole , the United States diplomatically they are doing the right to prosecute is own citizen has any other country would ,Interpol watching list must be respected has the international community is watching from all over the world that justice is done ,all other political matters would be resolved later by the respective leaders of sovereign nations in concern , China a such big power should never be supressed by a Latin American influence who they never did anything for Human rights in the past, my respect to the Chinese Authority always has China is a great nation.
International Law Expert
ERC
whymak
Mr. CALIGULA or Prof. Caligiuri or by any other name, your phony title fools no one. From your incoherent speech and writing skills, I place your educational level somewhere between 4th and 5th grade.
After rendering this teacher's verdict, I hope other readers won't waste any more time on rebuttals.

Pages

 
 
 
 
 

Login

SCMP.com Account

or