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

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline 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.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid