The government of Hong Kong, a “special administrative region (SAR)” under Chinese rule that has maintained its own British-derived legal system, said it had informed Washington of Snowden’s exit.
“Since the documents provided by the US government did not fully comply with the legal requirements under Hong Kong law, the HKSAR government has requested the US government to provide additional information so that the Department of Justice could consider whether the US government’s request can meet the relevant legal conditions,” its statement said.
“As the HKSAR government has yet to have sufficient information to process the request for provisional warrant of arrest, there is no legal basis to restrict Mr Snowden from leaving Hong Kong.”
The statement also pressed Washington for answers “on earlier reports about the hacking of computer systems in Hong Kong by US government agencies”.
China’s official Xinhua news agency on Sunday attacked the United States as an espionage “villain” after Snowden detailed new allegations of NSA activity targeting mainland and Hong Kong interests.
In the latest revelations published by the South China Morning Post, Snowden said the NSA was hacking Chinese mobile phone companies to gather data from millions of text messages.