News / Asia

Snowden’s Flight Raises Legal Questions for Hong Kong

Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying speaks during a news conference following his maiden policy address in Hong Kong, January 16, 2013 file photo.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying speaks during a news conference following his maiden policy address in Hong Kong, January 16, 2013 file photo.
Ivan Broadhead
The Hong Kong government says former security contractor Edward Snowden departed the semi-autonomous Chinese city just hours after the U.S. government requested his extradition.  Questions are raised about Snowden’s flight.

After a day of media speculation and government silence, Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying confirmed Edward Snowden left the southern Chinese city of his own accord early Sunday for a third-party country.

Snowden, who is under FBI investigation for revealing secret U.S. National Security Agency surveillance operations, had been in hiding in Hong Kong since fleeing Hawaii May 20.

Edward Snowden during an interview with The Guardian newspaper at an undisclosed location in Hong Kong, June 6, 2013.Edward Snowden during an interview with The Guardian newspaper at an undisclosed location in Hong Kong, June 6, 2013.
x
Edward Snowden during an interview with The Guardian newspaper at an undisclosed location in Hong Kong, June 6, 2013.
Edward Snowden during an interview with The Guardian newspaper at an undisclosed location in Hong Kong, June 6, 2013.
Despite the extradition agreement between Hong Kong and Washington, Leung said Snowden departed “through a lawful and normal channel," and the United States had been informed. 

Speaking to local public broadcaster RTHK, Hong Kong University Law Professor Eric Cheung questioned the legality of Snowden’s free passage.

“The Hong Kong government needs to explain to the U.S. why it allowed Snowden to leave, not withstanding their surrender request," he said. "Hong Kong needs to give a satisfactory explanation, otherwise the [United] States might accuse Hong Kong of being in breach of its treaty obligations.”

China political expert Willy Lam suggests Snowden's presence has been a headache for the local government, which answers to Beijing but has close ties to Washington. 

“I would not be surprised if Snowden was encouraged to leave so Hong Kong would be spared a potentially acrimonious legal battle with the United States, if, as is highly possible, it was the intention of the Chinese government not to surrender him,” said Lam.

Snowden boarded an Aeroflot flight to Moscow.  Reports suggest he will subsequently travel to Venezuela by way of Cuba.

Explaining why Hong Kong authorities had not prevented the fugitive’s departure, Leung said the U.S. government provided insufficient information to process an arrest warrant.

Hong Kong Democratic Party chairman Emily Lau is skeptical.  She suspects Leung was acting at Beijing’s behest, and is concerned about the ramifications for Hong Kong citizens. 

“The fact CY Leung dare not say anything for so long shows that he was waiting for orders from Beijing," she said.  "The Americans may want to punish us [for instance, by] by not giving us visa-free treatment that is something Hong Kong has been fighting for.”

U.S. officials say National Security Agency computer and telephone monitoring operations have foiled at least 50 terrorist plots.

Leung concluded his statement by demanding Washington clarify Snowden’s allegation that Hong Kong computer systems have been hacked by U.S. agencies.

You May Like

Video Analysts: Beijing Parade a 'Bazaar' of Stolen Technology

Show commemorating victory over Japan in World War II involved long, medium and short range missiles, a range of tanks and 200 fighter aircraft More

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: hkdangerduo from: Hong Kong
June 24, 2013 6:30 AM
Hong Kong's Chief Executive Leung never comments on anything. We had him on the set of Luggage Talk recently for the finale of our third season, and he was just as tight lipped as with any other time he's asked questions.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs