HONG KONG – Edward Snowden, the NSA leaker who revelaed his identity in an interview with The Guardian, reportedly checked out of the posh hotel Mira on Monday and is seeking legal help in the Chinese city. The former consulting firm Booz Allen employee claims the chances of being extradited to the U.S. are slight. But an extradition treaty signed in 1996 between the U.S. and the former British colony could send him back home sooner than he thinks.
Snowden is trying to contact Hong Kong-based human rights organizations and lawyers for help, the Oriental Daily News, a Hong Kong-based Chinese language newspaper, reported today, without naming its sources. Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor has not received any message from Snowden, the paper said.
Meanwhile, Chinese Internet users are voicing their support for Edward Snowden, . The presence of the former intelligence contractor’s presence in Hong Kong has been a hot topic on the micro-blogging site Sina Weibo.
Snowden’s name is one of the hot trends on the site and many have welcomed him to China and deemed his decision to reveal the Prism surveillance program to the world as very courageous. “I wish him the best. The situation is very tricky,” wrote Weibo user Chow Kat. Another user wrote that the 29-year-old whistleblower was very brave and now that he’s in China “we should protect him,” wrote user Xiaodong Wang.