24 June 2013 at 11:35 BST

Hong Kong lawyer reveals Snowden discussions

Secretary general of the democratic party and leading Hong Kong lawyer Albert Ho Chun-yan has revealed that he was part of discussions held with the government to consider the fate of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Hong Kong: whistleblower departs

The South China Morning Post reports that Mr Ho - senior partner of Ho Tse Wai & Partners and former chairman of the Democratic Party – claimed that on Mr Snowden’s instruction he met a leading government official last week to clarify legal issues, but received an unsatisfactory response.

Espionage charges

Mr Ho added that following the meeting an informal message was sent to Mr Snowden through an intermediary regarding his stay in the city. This coincided with US espionage charges becoming public and forcing Mr Snowden to make a decision on his movements.
The lawyer told reporters that the individual who claimed to represent the Hong Kong government had told Mr Snowden he was free to leave, and should do so.

Beijing authorities

‘By going through not entirely legal avenues and using a person whose identity isn't entirely clear to tell [Mr Snowden] that the government wants him to leave. This is a highly unusual action,’ said Mr Ho. ‘I have reasons to believe that... those who wanted him to leave represented Beijing authorities.
‘Beijing would not step forward to the front stage because it will affect Sino-US relations. So, it would operate behind the scenes to make Mr Snowden go. The Hong Kong government may not have had any role other than not stopping him at the airport.’
Barrister Robert Tibbo, who was among those brought in to represent Mr Snowden about two weeks ago, said that the computer analyst left Hong Kong through ‘legal, legitimate means and the proper immigration channels.’


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