Edward Snowden 'hid in homes of Hong Kong asylum seekers'

Whistle-blower Edward Snowden laid low with asylum seekers during his time in Hong Kong, before fleeing to Russia

Snowden was placed into hiding for almost two weeks before flying to Russia
Snowden was placed into hiding for almost two weeks before flying to Russia

Whistle-blower Edward Snowden laid low with asylum seekers during his time in Hong Kong, before fleeing to Russia.  

The former CIA worker was inside the upmarket Mira hotel in Kowloon in June 2013 when he revealed to the world that it was he who leaked details of the National Security Agency’s electronic intelligence gathering operations.

Snowden was placed into hiding for almost two weeks before flying to Russia, where he has been in self-imposed exile ever since.  

His whereabouts in the city from June 10 to June 23 had remained a mystery, known only to Snowden and a handful of lawyers until now.8

"We knew (the asylum seekers) because we had helped them on their (immigration cases). And we knew they would not betray us," Jonathan Man, a lawyer who helped Snowden said.

Snowden applied for refugee status at a UN sub-office to avoid extradition to the US.

Disguised in a dark hat and glasses, Snowden was transported by car at night to safe houses in the Lai Chi Kok area of Kowloon.

The US government filed sealed criminal charges against Snowden on June 14, and requested Hong Kong authorities detain him the next day under an extradition treaty.

On June 21, the whistleblower was formally charged with three felonies under the 1917 US Espionage Act and the US formally requested his arrest by the Hong Kong government.

After 12 days of hiding among Hong Kong’s refugee community, Snowden was taken to the home of one of his lawyers. On June 23, he flew out of Hong Kong before being stranded in transit in Moscow. Since then, Snowden hasn't left Russia.

Realising the danger the refugees put themselves in, the American has sent sent them each $1,000 (€889).

"They had a hundred chances to betray me while I was amongst them, and no one could have blamed them, given their precarious situations. But they never did," Snowden told international media. "If not for their compassion, my story could have ended differently. They taught me no matter who you are, no matter what you have, sometimes a little courage can change the course of history." 

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