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  • Jul 12, 2014
  • Updated: 3:00am
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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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.
blue
"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!
maecheung
This Snowden fiasco has at least done one thing which no Hong Kong leader was able to do, that is both the pan democrats and the Bejing loyalist lawmakers are united (in condemning the US). Keep this up and Hong Kong will be more prosperous.
blue
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.
totalmedialtd
Hey man, you're putting in a real good day's work at the wu mao factory, keep it up!
Sticks Evans
How are those illegal structures doing? Is the rule of law applying?
achiang
Nice try NSA agent.
blue
This egomaniac was making it all about himself in another article related to Snowden by complaining that his rights were violated by the hospital authority. Yeah sure buddy.

Also maybe you should also ask the british colonial government on why they weren't enforcing illegal structures laws either. Besides private property protections trump any kind of law relating to illegal structures. Also please don't confuse civil infractions with giving someone accused of a political crime due process!

Regardless, no matter how much bile you spew, HK has far greater respect for the rule of law than the USA. The USA has no respect for the rule of law and will routinely play fast and loose with the law if they think they can get away with it. Well this time the USA was caught red handed!
Sticks Evans
You are an idiot.

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