Whistleblower Edward Snowden leaves Hong Kong on Moscow-bound flight

Wikileaks is believed to be helping Snowden seek asylum

CIA whistleblower Edward Snowden, who is currently facing charges of theft and espionage, is reported to have left Hong Kong and is en route to Russia.

The South China Morning Post broke the news that Snowden had left Hong Kong on its website earlier today. Reports suggest that Snowden could be headed for Iceland or Ecuador, with an Icelandic newspaper revealing four days ago that Snowden had requested political asylum from the country.

As a US citizen Snowden would be unable to stay in Russia without a visa but is believed to have chosen the country to catch a connecting flight as it is one of the few places without an extradition treaty with the US. The Russian President's office says it has not received any information about Snowden's arrival.

The South China Morning Post suggests that Snowden left Hong Kong at 11am local time (4am GMT) and was due to land in Moscow at 5:15pm local time (1pm GMT).

The White House had asked Hong Kong to extradite Snowden after pressing charges however, the Hong Kong government has said although the US had asked for his extradition, the request did not fully comply with the requirements. Yesterday The Drum reported that legal experts had claimed attempts to extradite Snowden could take the US "months, if not years.

The Hong Kong government has confirmed Snowden has left the country and did so legally and voluntarily issuing at statement reading: "Mr Edward Snowden left Hong Kong today (June 23) on his own accord for a third country through a lawful and normal channel."

The statement added that "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.

"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."

Reuters is reporting that Wikileaks has helped Snowden seek political asylum in a democratic country, helping him with travel papers and safe exit from Hong Kong.

Join us, it's free.

Become a member to get access to:

  • Exclusive Content
  • Daily and specialised newsletters
  • Research and analysis

Join us, it’s free.

Want to read this article and others just like it? All you need to do is become a member of The Drum. Basic membership is quick, free and you will be able to receive daily news updates.