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MsExPat's picture

Anyone who has ever had any dealings with Hong Kong's scrupulous bureaucracy can't help but chuckle at today's South China Morning Post article detailing the problems that Hong Kong's government had with the United States' request to detain Edward Snowden. Since the SCMP is behind a paywall here are the juicy parts:

Hong Kong’s justice secretary said on Tuesday the United States had failed to provide crucial information necessary to support its request for the arrest of whistle-blower Edward Snowden before he had left the city.

The missing information included things as basic as a confirmation of Snowden’s full name and passport number, Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung said on Tuesday.

It gets even better. Apparently the US request didn't even have Snowden's correct name...

Yuen said the US government had not responded to Hong Kong’s request for a confirmation of Mr Snowden name and passport number even though it had mentioned that he was a US passport holder, Yuen said.

The name used in US government diplomatic documents was Edward James Snowden, the US Department of Justice referred to him as Edward J Snowden, and Hong Kong’s Immigration Department had him recorded as Edward Joseph Snowden, Yuen said.

“I couldn’t say the three names were consistent, so we needed further clarification. Otherwise, there would have been legal problems with a provisional arrest warrant,” Yuen said.

There were, as well, more substantial problems with the US document:

The US also failed to explain to Hong Kong authorities how two of the three charges the US mentioned in its arrest request fell within the scope of a US-Hong Kong rendition of fugitive offenders agreement signed in 1996.

The Hong Kong government on June 15 received the US request for the provisional arrest of Snowden on three charges, namely unauthorised disclosure of national defence information, unauthorised disclosure of intelligence and stealing state property.

Yuen said the US had failed to tell Hong Kong authorities which part of the agreement covered the first two charges.

He also said documents from the US made no mention of what evidence they had against Snowden, a requirement for Hong Kong courts to move ahead with a provisional arrest.

Note to Eric Holder: Don't even think of trying to get anything past Hong Kong government officials without making sure you've dotted all your i's and crossed your t's. This is not Hong Kong dragging its feet or being difficult. This is merely how we roll in Hong Kong, the love child of China and Great Britain, two of the world's greatest bureaucracies. Oh, and around here politeness and prompt response always beats haste and arrogance. You are welcome.

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Submitted by cg.eye on

.... you mean the US Government, creator of the frustration called the TSA, didn't know that you have to have each mention of one's name in the exact same order and spelling on all documents, with no abbreviations allowed?

If this happened in any US airport, between a driver's license and ticket, a passenger couldn't get on a plane.

And now they're plucked because another bureaucracy insists on the same specificity? Justice.

jo6pac's picture
Submitted by jo6pac on

thanks that's the eric the holder doj for you can't put a bankster in jail because it's really confusing with what they did on ws.

Thanks MsExPat

Submitted by hipparchia on

This is merely how we roll in Hong Kong, the love child of China and Great Britain, two of the world's greatest bureaucracies.


i'm (mostly) a fan of bureaucracy myself, so you made my day with this!