Edward Snowden

Hong Kong-based sisters of Snowden's aide watch saga unfold

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 30 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 30 June, 2013, 5:07am

Edward Snowden's attempted flight to Ecuador from limbo in the transit lounge of Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport is being watched with particular interest by two sisters in Hong Kong.

Kate and Alexandra Harrison, British expatriates who both live and work in the city, are sisters of WikiLeaks official Sarah Harrison, who is accompanying the whistle-blower as he attempts to escape extradition.

Well connected and well spoken, like their photogenic sister, Kate and Alexandra are also appropriately discreet about their liaisons, stonewalling questions last week about whether they met up with Sarah or Snowden during their stays in Hong Kong.

Sarah, who is described by WikiLeaks as "a UK citizen, journalist and legal researcher", flew to Hong Kong to help Snowden and travelled with him to Moscow, where he is now living in Sheremetyevo airport's transit area.

She is close to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, having spent time alongside him while he was under house arrest in the UK and later acting as a gatekeeper to anyone seeking access to him at the Ecuadorean embassy in London.

If Sarah did choose to meet her sisters in Hong Kong, one of them might have been particularly useful in arranging a low-key rendezvous: Alexandra, 23, works for a company called Hush Up, which organises "secret" parties for wealthy young expatriates.

Alexandra came to Hong Kong at the beginning of the year, joining older sister Kate, and has worked for five months as an assistant events co-ordinator at the firm, which on its Facebook page says it organises "unique secret events in Hong Kong" and instils "a sense of adventure through the element of surprise and intrigue".

Reached by phone on Thursday and asked about her sister's visit to Hong Kong, Alexandra was suitably unco-operative, declaring before hanging up: "I am not going to say anything."

Before coming to Hong Kong, Alexandra worked as an intern at events companies in London. She also had an internship at a PR company and for filmmaker Bill Kenwright, according to her LinkedIn page.

Kate, 29, works as a product manager at a fashion and cosmetic accessories sourcing company named Concept 4, which has ninth-floor offices in Connaught Road West, overlooking Victoria Harbour.

Speaking at her company's offices on Thursday, she declined to answer questions about her sister's visit to Hong Kong, saying: "I am sorry. I am not going to talk to any press."