• Fri
  • Dec 26, 2014
  • Updated: 3:10pm
Edward Snowden
NewsHong Kong

We don't owe anyone an apology, says US consul over Edward Snowden affair

Hong Kong still waiting for US reply on Snowden hacking allegations, says security chief

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 July, 2013, 5:47pm
UPDATED : Friday, 19 July, 2013, 10:35am

Outgoing US consul in Hong Kong Stephen Young said on Thursday the US did not owe any country an apology in relation to the alleged hacking activities disclosed by whistle-blower Edward Snowden.

But Young did say the United States government would address queries made by Hong Kong officials on the issue in its own time and manner.

"But I don’t think we owe an apology to anyone," he said when speaking at the Foreign Correspondents' Club in Central on Thursday afternoon.

The root of the problem here is we have somebody [Snowden] who violated his trust with the US and chose Hong Kong to demonstrate that
Stephen Young, US consul, Hong Kong

“Because I think the real root of the problem here is we have somebody [Snowden] who violated his trust with the United States and chose Hong Kong as a place to demonstrate that.”

He also said that Snowden had made a lot of allegations and many seemed to be self-serving in an attempt to garner sympathy for himself.

Young did say that the Snowden saga had damaged the trust between Hong Kong and the US but he believed it could be restored.

"I wouldn’t be leaving here with the generally optimistic view of Hong Kong if I thought that the damaged trust couldn’t be restored."

Earlier on Thursday, Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok told Hong Kong lawmakers that Hong Kong was still waiting for a reply from the United States on claims made by Snowden that US agencies had hacked into the city’s computers.

Lai was speaking at a Legislative Council meeting to discuss the revelations made last month by the American whistle-blower and ex-CIA worker.

“The Security Bureau wrote to the US on June 22 to seek an explanation. We are looking forward to a comprehensive and thorough clarification for Hongkongers as soon as possible,” Lai said in an opening speech.

We are looking forward to a comprehensive and thorough clarification for Hongkongers as soon as possible
Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok

Lai said that with regard to the Snowdon case, his allegations of US hacking into Hong Kong’s computer systems was the top concern of the city’s lawmakers and people.

He also said the city had facilities to guard against cyberattacks and had invested in the research and development of new internet security technology.

Snowden told the South China Morning Post in mid-June – soon after fleeing his home country – that Washington had been hacking into mainland China and Hong Kong computer systems for years. One target in the city, he said, was the hub for Hong Kong’s internet traffic located on the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s campus in Sha Tin.

Snowden, who is wanted by Washington for leaking details of the US intelligence surveillance programmes, is now seeking temporary asylum in Russia after spending more than three weeks in a Moscow airport transit lounge trying to find a country that would grant him asylum.


Related topics

For unlimited access to:

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



This article is now closed to comments

What do you expect the thief to reply? I am rich and powerful and I want to take anything I want, what can you do about it?
John Adams
I think that the Harry cartoon today says it all perfectly
When top US officials in HK like Mr Young make such a fool of themselves in public on behalf of their foolish country's policies and foolish leaders they deserve all the mockery they get.
A very large proportion of HK and Chinese people now despise the USA.
Respect is a virtue that takes generations to earn, but can be lost in a moment.
From world police to world ruffians/scoundrels. Its akin to someone committing a crime and blaming the victim for reporting it to the police and seeking damages. Sheer arrogance.
Simple Arrogance
The US can say whatever they want and that is only a small perk for being the world's police and super power in terms of economic ( still ) and military power. Desperate times require desperate measures and top notch world executives should and could exercise termination with extreme prejudice if they need to . Even 3rd world countries like the Phillipines wouldn't bother to give a care about the HK tourist shooting incident what makes HK having any bargaining chips to have a voice in the world arena ? If anyone of you have real backbones why not stop sending your kids to Harvard or Yale, withdraw all your investments from the US, burn your American passport and instead of waving your petty British imperial flags in Central protesting and antagonizing your mother country burn some real American flags outside the Consulate instead of whining and ranting like little babies. Evolution taught us the theory survival of the fittest. Does it ring a bell ?
hard times !
this out-going US consul general, Stephen Young is really shameless and shameful to the extreme ! He dared say that his government did not owe any countries an apology related to the revelations of Snowden in Hong Kong ! How absurd and unreasonable his words were ! This old guy better leave here as soon as possible since he is not welcomed here.If our lawmakers (among them quite a lot are pro-America guys) could act more boldly and reasonably by demanding/asking this old guy Yeung to go to the Legco chamber for an explanation of his government's cyberspying of our Internet Exchange located at Chinese Univ. and intrusions of our public officials,businessmen and students' computers,he won't be so arrogant and bossy in his attitude before his disgraceful leave----unable to keep Snowden here in the territory while awaiting the extradition.Of course, this old guy's diplomatic career will not be bright due to the Snowden affairs.It can be expected.But anyway,he well deserves it !
Dai Muff
Idiot. The real root of the problem is not someone exposing your unethical and shady activities, but you committing them. This is what no government ever seems to understand.
I am appalled by this US official's lack of moral standard. His words, and his country's acts, do a great deal of damage to the image of the USA.
In other words: "We do what we want, so what?"
When are Americans/British or apologist like yoself ever going to understand its the Hyprocripsy and Arrogance that people can't take from your kind? Always acting as if you are a Justice, a protector, when in reality USA and Britian are war mongering countries fabricating evidence to start a war and murdering tens of thousands in the phony name of Freedom, yet the people responsible for such war crimes are left untouched & unpunished. Then the Obama administration pretends that they are victims of Chinese hacking, but in reality they are master hacker of the world.... They complain that China is backing all those bad bad people in Africa yet they have backed and continue to back numerous of mass murdering, human rights violating dictators whenever they see fit and do please advicse whatever reason Obama can play GOd and deem who is guilty and not guilty and have them murder with their drones without trial and in some cases without the consent of the country they are bombing.
BTW the only poeple who truly belives that their country doesn't spy on others is well hmmmm AMERICANS, who ignorantly truly belives that their country can do no wrong and all those killed by them are evil and the world owe them once again.
Remember what you said Mr. Stephen Young, it may come back to haunt you and your country.
hard times !
Mr.Young thinks that his government does not owe anyone an apology for the revelations of Snowden due to the latter breached the trust placed on him by his company---Booz Allen Hamilton.Yet how about a proper explanation to Hongkongers on his country's NSA's intrusions of our computers ? Does his government owe us an explanation ? We dare not ask for a proper apology from the Big Brother who used to be/ is so arrogant and bossy in world affairs as his navy rules all the oceans and his military bases are scattered in 151 countries of the world-------the World Cop indeed.And we dare not ask for a promise not to hack into our computers in the future by the NSA ! But even an explanation is said to be in-coming by this departing Consul General whose words were as arrogant as before ! This clearly demonstrates the disadvantages of a sole super power in the world-----no balance of power in military field or other fields !
Good riddance.
We don't owe anyone an apology for being incompetent, says US consul over Edward Snowden affair.
hard times !
intrusions of others' computers (even students !) and other places/countries' Internet Exchange on the excuses of so-called national security or anti-terrorism should not be toleated at all.A proper apology by the US government to Hong Kong and all other victims is thus a must.If the allegations of Snowden were false, why hasn't the Obama administration denied them up till now ? We Hongkongers have got the rights to demand at least an explanation of the hackings done by the NSA of America ever since 2009 !
judging by your username, I thought that you would have had a better grasp of rhetorical devices like sarcasm and irony...
FYI SCMP doesnt decide which story's going to the MOST POPULAR column. The readers do. It's determined by the number of clicks on the story.
PS. OMG you're so ignorant.
What a fool and foolish remarks.............the US owes the whole world an apology for prying into everyone else's business while claiming to be the victim of cyber attacks...........The Obama adminstration has got to be one of the worse in US history and only a country as foolish as America would have elected someone like Obama to be president............If you NSA guys can pick up this message like you're suppose to............here's the middle finger.
Goodbye and good riddance Mr Young!
hkbulib2 Jul 20th 2013
FYI SCMP doesnt decide which story's going to the MOST POPULAR column. The readers do. It's determined by the number of clicks on the story.
PS. OMG you're so ignorant.
To hkbulib2:
We all assume so that readers do. Use your judgment and be circumspective when things appear abnormal. SCMP needs to investigate of this abnormality (read today's SCMP's statement what went wrong at SCMP). As for hkbulib2, don’t trust machine 100%. How do I know if you are not the one who actually clicked a thousand times to fulfill whatever agenda you desired? Right? Think outside the box so you can see more and not prompt so lack of social manner.
bluechinagroup Jul 20th 2013
HKbulib, well said on the ignorant comment. You should have seen johnyuan at his pinnacle of ignorance hen he tried to claim that the rule of law is an "outdated" concept.
To: bluechinagroup
Bring some fresh idea to your next debate. But you did inspire me to say that Hong Kong’s rule of law is based on common law which has its origin from a class society. So either you rule or be ruled and take what comes to you. I am sure you are quite familiar otherwise you will not be this belligerent. Hong Kong shouldn’t be trumpeting rule of law for a modern city when it is not. You must be still quite young. Learn to think outside the box and you will see more.
Sounds like many of you not even suspect or believe Chinese government Is hacking Hk government. Are u a little bit too naive.
We are all looking forward for China to replace the USA as the world's Leading Superpower! About time that this beacon of freedom, tolerance, respect, and good manners takes over.
Yeah, it would be the exchange of one nazi regime by another:)
It seems that the US has ever made any apology was to the natives America killed during the wild wide west era. So, to make it simple, you want an apology? Either you are one of them or you were dead years ago.
The native Americans in the USA are still pretty much being screwed over and denied opportunities. The living conditions in the reservations the US established is totally third world with zero employment opportunities. It makes HK's city of sadness seem like paradise in comparison.
Harold Cameron
This is typical of the attitude of the US, expecting everyone to grovel to them, but not accepting that their wrongdoing is anything other than O.K.
Rather like Britain who still consider that their role in world politics is as important as it was 150 years ago the Americans are running scared of China. Inevitably this will end in war within the next 100 years as both nations appear to be intransigent in their differing dogmas.
Quit bickering and be thankful that you are able to type English but not Japanese. Don't tell me you have no skeletons in the closet. Necessary evil is required to accomplish greater things and that is why they are not obligated to owe us ( HK being just a blip on the map ) any explanation. Your thesis on anti american sentiment is weak. Tell us something we don't know.
I wonder what 'greater things' are still left these days... sigh
It should be a common sense that espionage is actually happening everywhere, among individuals, companies and nations. And an apology from the US consul surely cannot not stop such things, people could only just find an acceptable reason to let such "evil" things go, at least emotionally. Because we know that we do not have the ability to stop espionage, just like we sometimes cannot even control our own curiosity of discovering other people's secrets. We know that nations spy on each other all the time, we just hope they could do it in a more smart and secret way in case of hurting people's emotional feelings.
Let me summarize your point. "If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen
Don't go away before you reply our Security Chief's questions, Mr. Young.
A real dense remark out of desperation indeed. Would indiscriminate defecation be a strong character trait in people of leaders in the world stage ? Surely you must be jesting.
"A very large proportion of HK and Chinese people now despise the USA" Now there is a scientifically derived conclusion based on a poll of thousands, eh?
Though the US has yet again gotten itself into a red-faced situation, I don't think the average person, really cares at this point.
hard times !
'we don't owe anyone an apology ' I wonder why wrongdoings comitted should not ask for excuse/pardon while the nature of the crime (hacking is a serious crime in Hong Kong) alleged by whistle-blower,Mr.Snowden is so serious that our Legco chairperson has just written a letter to Obama through the US Consul General in Hong Kong, expressing our concern and worries of the allegations of Snowden.Besides,both the US Senate and the House representatives have received our letters of complaint too.Our secretary for security has earlier written to the US Dept.of Justice asking for an explanation of the alleged hackings into our computers but no reply has been received.It looks the mutual trust between America and Hongkong will be at risk for a long time to come.Just wait and see how this thorny issue can be resolved.
Now why would he be haunted by dreams or be taunted by mere rhetoric when his Great and Mighty country is on top of the food chain ? Does survival of the fittest ring a bell ?
Oxymoron: We'll see how long it'll be before the great big USA turns into another has been like the UK.
HKbulib, well said on the ignorant comment. You should have seen johnyuan at his pinnacle of ignorance when he tried to claim that the rule of law is an "outdated" concept.
You inspired me another way to explain to you why rule of law is an outdated concept. First, as previously I explained to you, rule of law is valid but conditionally. It needs to be based on a common agreed vtalue which one use law to protect, defend and punish the offender of the agreed value. Here, what I have for you is that Hong Kong's rule of law is base on a set of colonial value that base on common law. Common law has its origin from a class system. So either you are a ruler or a subject. It is no longer a valid divide but an out dated concept. It is really not a glorious thing to constantly trumpeting Hong Kong has rule of law. The divide between the have and don't have is just too embarassing for a modern citizen and city.
Next time, bring some good points to the debate.
US is caught between a hard place and a rock. It can’t really defend its cyber hacking probably worldwide for its national security etc. It can’t even explain to Hong Kong for its clandestine act by claiming it is right because it netted HSBC and Charted Standard for laundry money or more. I guess, the computer technology is just not up there yet (a big questionable yet) to separate the innocent from the crook. It will be god if it can. Can’t explain, can’t apologize without jarpordize what is clandestine.
Well said, full stop.
All of the sudden hK is becoming the World Police Chief going after the World Police Mr. USA. But Mr. world Police Chief, HK, don't just investigate or judge on one lead in your backyard, you must be naive or somehow ill prepared not even thinking that you are highly likely being hacked by many countries, particularly from BJ. The difference is there is no Mr. snowmen escaping to Hk from BJ. With HK's low end IT capability, nothing you can really do in this real world. It is time for HK people to focus on its many many issues. Good bye Mr. World Police Chief.
I've seen black communities (Compton, California for instance) in the US that are not third world but fourth world in my opinion.
In my freshman year in college, Marshall McLuhan stated that the medium is the message. He might be picking one form of communication means over another that a message is most potent. If he had lived to read SCMP a news medium of its Most Popular column, placing ‘Why are Chinese tourists so rude?’ unceasingly over a month or so as one of the five popular choice, McLuhan would said that SCMP had outdone his prediction. I for one, SCMP’s ranking and inclusion of the story over a month is unconvincing to a point of fabrication. I am piggybacking this comment on this 2nd ranking in the Most Popular column.
CC Wang Xiangwei Editor in-Chief SCMP xiangwei.wang@scmp.com
This is what WE all assume that readers do by clicking on the story. But I doubt it and you should too. Even it is so, the clicks didn't come from the same person, like yourself, willfully with an agenda? It is foolish to trust machine 100%. Be more circumspective so not to be a slave to a machine. It will also improve your social manner too in this particular case.
Bring some fresh idea to your next debate. But you did inspire me to say that Hong Kong’s rule of law is based on common law which has its origin from a class society. So either you rule or be ruled and take what comes to you. I am sure you are quite familiar otherwise you will not be this belligerent. Hong Kong shouldn’t be trumpeting rule of law for a modern city when it is not.
May you have the ability to think outside the box soon. I guess you are still very young and there is a long good years you have to live through -- even war and peace.
“Never apologize, mister, it’s a sign of weakness.”
― John Wayne
BTW if your prediction is true and if I get to live to 100, given I have dual citizenships aka: American and Chinese, I would choose to hide in nuclear underground bunkers of the former. I would stand a better chance of survival not from radioactive fallout, but from tainted food.
Yeah never apologizing and admitting when you're caught red handed is surely a sign of strength and a way for people to respect you and not totally hate your guts when you're not around. I agree with babyhenry; people like you are truly unbearable.
hard times !
as the arrogance of this departing Consul General reflects the harm of a sole super power is to the world-------no apology will be given for his country's nasty acts------intrusions of other countries' computers for a long time by every possible means.Even our students' computers have been hacked ! The rise of other powers such as China and Russia plus Germany and India or Brazil has become an urgent matter to counter-balance the sole super-power, Uncle Sam !
John Adams
Another "Well said, full stop"
And another good riddance.


SCMP.com Account