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  • Jul 26, 2014
  • Updated: 4:08pm
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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Sticks Evans
Hey iron. Your very comments say how little you know about the inner workings of Hong Kong.
Sticks Evans
You are the egomaniac posting your **** about anyone but you. You know nothing about others lives and what the region is. You are a moron and a baffoon spouting racist hate. Go back under your rock and stay there.
The CE of Hong Kong is now above ciivil law? Now that is special. What law program did you get thrown out of. You have to be one of the dumbest most arrogant toads on the internet.
I cannot wait for Hong Kong to gain democracy and the responsibilities that go along with it.
It is a great city. But if you left it would be even greater.
blue
The fact that this guy uses his face as his avatar shows how giant his ego is.
Sticks Evans
Your face is too ugly to post. And too stupid.
dienamik
Nice try America. Still want answers on your SPYING.
ubifrancehk
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 !
blue
HK is in charge of border control and legally can decide to refuse entry of anyone for any reason. That's not the same thing as ensuring someone who is accused of a political crime is given due process.
HK-Lover
Dear Mr. Consul-General of the USA, you are absolutely correct and hit the nail on the top by saying " ..... a good relationship between the city and the US, which had now suffered "a loss of trust" ".
What will the US do to give us HK people back the trust in the US that the country you represent will abide by the rule of law and respect other countries standard procedures ?
I suppose it will be hard work for you to manage the US to work up its way back to be again on eye level with the HK government and not been seen as a country behaving like a little bullying boy who is upset not being accepted in the sports team because he even couldn't get his name right on the application .
gcmaster
Its kind of l*** excuse, but I agree with HK that US is exaggerating this incident to downplay the espionage on HK.

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