Entries in Hong Kong (10)


NSA Leaker Edward Snowden Leaves Hong Kong

Photo by The Guardian via Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked classified documents has left Hong Kong.

The United States request for extradition of Snowden was apparently faulty, according to the Hong Kong Government. They say that there was no basis to prevent Snowden from boarding a plane en route to Moscow. ABC News Chief Political Correspondent George Stephanopoulus says Snowden will also be free from U.S. Grasp in Moscow.

According to BBC News, Snowden may fly to another country from Moscow, with Cuba and Ecuador as two potential destinations.

Reports say that Wikileaks assisted Snowden in his exit from Hong Kong.

Snowden was charged with theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified communications intelligence in a criminal complaint that was unsealed on Friday.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


U.S. Formally Seeking Extradition of Edward Snowden 

The Guardian via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Following Friday's filing of espionage charges against intelligence leaker Edward Snowden, the United States announced it was formally seeking extradition from authorities in Hong Kong.

The extradition, based on the criminal complaint filed in the Eastern District of Virginia and in accordance with the US/ Hong Kong Agreement for the Surrender of Fugitive Offenders, may prove to be a complicated process. Hong Kong operates under its own legal system but the Chinese government in Beijing still maintains a degree of authority and could intervene, either behind the scenes or even publicly.

Before a formal extradition can even begin, Snowden needs to be arrested. Once arrested, Snowden can seek asylum, and a lengthy appeals process could go all the way up to the high court in Hong Kong.

"China will want this process to play out in Hong Kong," said Ken Lieberthal, a senior fellow at Brookings Institution. "Where Beijing could intervene is, if Hong Kong decides to extradite, Snowden appeals, at the end of the day China can say do not extradite."

"Extradition can, of course, be a lengthy legal process,” a senior law enforcement source told ABC News. “But we are confident, based on the strong history of law enforcement cooperation between Hong Kong and the U.S., that at the end of that process, Hong Kong will extradite Snowden."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Protesters Take to Hong Kong Streets to Support NSA Leaker

Photo by The Guardian via Getty Images(HONG KONG) -- Protesters took to the streets in Hong Kong on Saturday to show their support for NSA leaker Edward Snowden and demand a "thorough explanation" of the secret surveillance program he exposed.

Roughly 200 people braved the rain to march to the U.S. consulate, chanting "Free Snowden" and "Arrest Obama." Others carried large posters with pictures under the headline "Big brother is watching you."

Outside the U.S. consulate, demonstrators blew their whistles saying they "were all whistle-blowers today," then handed over a letter to Consul General Steve Young, demanding an end to all surveillance of "innocent internet users" under the NSA program.

"The idea of mass surveillance not only violates the right to privacy and human dignity, but threatens the very fundamental human rights of freedom of thought, opinion, expression and association," the letter said.

Crowds at the rally were significantly smaller than the 1,000 people organizers expected, but Snowden has slowly been gaining public support since he flew to Hong Kong and exposed himself as the whistle-blower behind one of the biggest intelligence leaks in U.S. history.

Earlier this week, he told the South China Morning Post that the NSA had been hacking Chinese and Hong Kong computers since 2009, specifically targeting Chinese University, public officials, and students.

The interview raised alarm, and appears to have rallied support behind Snowden who called the surveillance program proof of "hypocrisy of the U.S. government."

A poll released by the same newspaper Saturday, showed one in two Hong Kongers believed their government should resist handing over Snowden, if Washington requested extradition.

"We demand the whole truth be disclosed by the U.S administration, and we demand an unconditional apology by Mr. Obama," said Albert Ho, a member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong.

Snowden has said he fled to this city, because of its strong tradition of free speech, and its reputation for independence from western countries.

But the high-profile case comes amid increasing anxiety of Beijing's influence in Hong Kong's government. The city has its own rule of law and political system, but residents worry that independence is fading.

Demonstrator Chikwan Ho said the Snowden case would be a major test of Hong Kong's own freedoms.

"By standing up for Snowden, I also want to send a message that we need that kind of citizen in Hong Kong," demonstrator Chikwan Ho said. "Somebody who is watching our government to see if they are abusing power to control our lives."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


$65M Marriage Reward: Chinese Billionaire Wants Daughter to Go Straight 

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The Hong Kong billionaire who offered millions to any man who could successfully woo his lesbian daughter told ABC's 20/20 in an exclusive new interview that he wouldn't force her to change her "gay tendency," but seems to hold out hope that she will anyway.

"I'm not saying that she's not okay to be gay.  I mean it's her own choice and her own tendency... But [she should] make sure she knows what she wants.  Maybe what she wants today is different [than] what she wants in the future," Cecil Chao told 20/20 in an interview airing Friday.

Chao, 76, a Hong Kong real estate magnate, made headlines late last month when news reports quoted him as saying he would offer $500 million Hong Kong dollars -- $65 million in U.S. cash -- to a successful male suitor for Gigi Chao, one of Cecil Chao's three children.

Since the announcement, offers from men around the world have come pouring in, but the tycoon's daughter isn't interested.

"My heart is taken," she told 20/20.

Gigi Chao, 33, has been in a relationship with a woman, Sean Eav, for eight years.  The pair made it official in a church ceremony in Paris earlier this year.

Gigi Chao said she broke the news of the Paris ceremony to her father in June.

"He was surprised and unpleasantly shocked by it," she recalled.  She said her father also urged her not to make the news public, but word leaked out when a tabloid reporter asked Eav in September when the two would be married.  Eav told the reporter the couple was already married.

Meanwhile, Cecil Chao questioned the validity of his daughter's marriage.

"I explained to him that it's (by) no means legal, and it's a church ceremony -- a church blessing," Gigi Chao said.  "And so, he found it necessary to make an announcement that, 'My daughter is, in fact, not married, she's still single.'"

But Cecil Chao then went a step further.

While "the reporters had their mics in his face, he just kind of goes, 'No.  No, she's not homosexual.  She's not-- she doesn't have gay tendencies.  She's not married.  In fact, I'm trying to find a husband for her.  Why don't you guys try to help me.  I'll offer 500 million,'" Gigi Chao said.

Long time watchers of Cecil Chao, a staple of Hong Kong tabloids for years, may find his sudden championing of marriage surprising.  Chao himself has never married.  He fathered his three children with three different women and has boasted of sleeping with more than 10,000 women.

Nonetheless, he said he wants a "normal family life" for his daughter.

Watch the full story on 20/20 Friday at 10 p.m. ET.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Hong Kong Ferry Boat Accident: Death Toll Rises to 38

ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images(HONG KONG) -- Hong Kong police have arrested seven crew members in connection with a ferry boat collision that killed 38 passengers, including four children, in the city's deadliest maritime accident in 40 years.

Police Commissioner Tsang Wai-hung said those arrested, including the boat's captain, were under investigation for negligence, and that they did not "exercise the care required of them by law."

He said additional arrests would be made, although he did not elaborate further.

More than 120 employees of the Hong Kong Electric Company were onboard the Lamma IV vessel with their families Monday evening to view a fireworks display celebrating China's National Day, when the vessel collided with another ferry near Lamma Island, off the southwest coast of Hong Kong island. The ferry began to sink shortly after impact, throwing all passengers into the water, according to the Hong Kong Fire Services Department.

Television images showed the bow of the boat pointing straight up, with the vessel partially submerged. Seven boats, including a diving support vessel and hundreds of rescue crews, were dispatched overnight, but low visibility hampered rescue efforts.

Twenty-eight bodies were recovered from the water, and eight other victims were declared dead at nearby hospitals. Two other bodies found onboard raised the death toll to 38 Tuesday night.

The remaining passengers were treated for injuries, but four remain in serious or critical condition, according to a government statement.

The commuter ferry that collided with the Lamma IV, operated by the Hong Kong and Kowloon Ferry company, appeared damaged but managed to return to port safely.

Large-scale accidents are rare in Hong Kong, where the waterways are among the safest not to mention the most tightly regulated.

Monday's boat disaster was Hong Kong's deadliest accident since a high-rise fire in 1996, which killed 41 people.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Protesters March for Chinese Democracy in Hong Kong

Getty/George Doyle/Thinkstock(BEIJING) -- While Chinese leaders marked the 62nd anniversary of communist rule with appearances in Tienanmen Square in Beijing, Saturday protests calling for democracy in China were staged in Hong Kong.

Hundreds marched in Hong Kong, calling for the release of political prisoners and an end to one-party rule in China.

Leung Kwok-Hung, who organized the Hong Kong protest, had the victims of the oppressive Chinese government on his mind.

"People will never forget so we will never forget ah those political prisoners like Mr. Liu Xiaobo who still in the prison and suffering," he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


US Treasury Department: More US Bonds for China

Getty/George Doyle/Thinkstock(BEIJING) -- A day before Vice President Biden arrives in Beijing, new data from the U.S. Treasury Department shows that in June, despite the prolonged debate over the debt ceiling, China bought another $5.7 billion in U.S. Treasury bonds. Beijing now has more than $1.17 trillion in holdings.

Japan, on the other hand, cut its holdings in June by $1.4 billion to $911 billion, while Hong Kong, which is counted apart from China, also reduced its holdings by $3.5 billion to $118.4 billion in June.  

This, however, was before S&P downgraded the U.S. credit rating earlier this month, a move that has many Chinese analysts concerned and urging China to diversify its holdings.

So one of Biden’s main goals in this week's Asia trip, besides getting to know future Chinese leader-in-waiting Xi Jinping, is to convince the Chinese that the U.S. remains a safe bet. Biden is expected to arrive Wednesday evening Beijing time.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


$33.4 Million Worth of Cocaine Seized En Route to China

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(HONG KONG) – Customs officials in Hong Kong uncovered $33.4 million worth of cocaine concealed in hollowed-out planks that originated in Bolivia and were en route to China, reports the BBC.

The 639-pound seizure was the second-largest drug bust in the region and was part of a “sophisticated” drug smuggling operation, according to customs officials in Hong Kong.

The bust has raised concerns that recreational drug use is on the rise in China due to growing wealth in the country. The country’s largest bust happened just last year, when 820 pounds of cocaine were discovered in a village in April.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Hong Kong to Present One of World's Largest, Most Spectacular Pyrotechnic Displays for New Year's Eve Countdown Celebration

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(HONG KONG) -- The Hong Kong Tourism Board is planning what it calls the "most extravagant, most dazzling display ever" to celebrate the incoming New Year.  The Countdown Celebration will begin Dec. 31 moments before midnight.

The pyrotechnics display will include new visual effects incorporating colorful patterns atop 44 Hong Kong buildings and skyscrapers symbolizing a flying dragon and numeric patterns for the countdown.  The show, lighting up the sky above Victoria Harbour, will also be synchronized to music.

The Hong Kong Tourism Board will also provide satellite feed of the entire event for television broadcasters worldwide.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


'Unbelievable': Young Man Boards Air Canada Jet Disguised as Old Man

Photo Courtesy - Air Canada(RICHMOND, B.C.) -- An elderly, wrinkled white man boarded a plane in Hong Kong and a young, baby-faced Asian man got off in Vancouver in what Canadian authorities are calling an "unbelievable" case of disguised identity.

Midway through the Oct. 29 Air Canada flight, the man entered the plane's lavatory and removed an intricately detailed silicon mask. When he returned to his seat, his identity as an Asian man in his early 20s was revealed, according to an "Intelligence Alert" circulated internally by the Canada Border Services Agency.

"Information was received from Air Canada Corporate Security regarding a possible imposter on a flight originating from Hong Kong," reads the alert.

"The passenger in question was observed at the beginning of the flight to be an elderly Caucasian male who appeared to have young looking hands. During the flight the subject attended the washroom and emerged an Asian looking male that appeared to be in his early 20s." The bulletin describes the incident as an "unbelievable case of concealment."

The Canada Border Services Agency would not comment to ABC News, but spokesmen for the Canada Immigration Ministry and Air Canada confirmed the details of the incident included in the bulletin.

The man, whose name has not been released by authorities, was met at the gate by Canadian security officials. He declared refugee status after being escorted through customs.

Officials searched the man's baggage and discovered a "disguise kit," including the silicon mask, a brown leather cap, glasses, and a brown cardigan.

"The subject admitted…that he had boarded the flight with the mask and removed it several hours later," according to the alert.

According to the CBSA, the man swapped boarding passes prior to boarding with an American born in 1955.

"It is believed that" the man showed his Aeroplan credit card as identification to board the flight. "Neither boarding passes not Aeroplan cards reflects date of birth," according to the alert.

An Air Canada official told ABC News that the airline requires passengers to show a passport before boarding international flights leaving Hong Kong.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 

ABC News Radio