Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has remained tight-lipped on the Edward Snowden saga during his official visit to New York, brushing aside questions from journalists on several occasions.
Leung, who returns to Hong Kong on Thursday, is in New York to promote trade relations. Before attending a dinner hosted by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council on Tuesday, he was asked six questions by reporters about the US whistle-blower who fled to Hong Kong.
“I have no comment on individual cases,” he said.
Asked whether US officials had sought assistance from the Hong Kong government on Snowden’s case, Leung said he could not reveal any details nor make any comment.
Leung also refused to respond to media questions about the case when he attended a plenary meeting hosted by the Hong Kong-US Business Council in New York on Wednesday.
During the meeting with business leaders from Hong Kong and the US, Leung explained Hong Kong's unique role as the "connector-in-chief" in linking the US to the markets both in the mainland and across Asia.
He also updated the participants on recent developments in Hong Kong that have enhanced the city's role as a gateway to the mainland in trade, finance, ideas and contacts. Participants included Maurice Greenberg, chairman of CV Starr & Co and former chairman of AIG.
Snowden, a 29-year-old American and former contract employee at the US National Security Agency, recently leaked sensitive documents on the US government’s top secret and extensive domestic surveillance programmes.
Snowden flew to Hong Kong from Hawaii in May and supplied confidential documents gathered from the agency to Britain’s Guardian newspaper and The Washington Post.
The revelations have put a spotlight on Hong Kong’s asylum laws and extradition treaty with Washington, and may even draw in Beijing.
On Monday, Leung met with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg at Leung’s hotel. They exchanged views on the challenges facing their cities, but made no mention of Snowden. Their afternoon meeting, originally scheduled for the morning, had been postponed because the Snowden case had attracted massive media attention.
Leung on Wednesday is scheduled to tour the United Nations headquarters, where he will attend a lunch hosted by the UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Wu Hongbo.