Edward Snowden Leaves Hong Kong for Moscow

Edward Snowden H

The former NSA technician left on a flight through a "lawful and normal channel," the Hong Kong government said.

HONG KONG – NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden left Hong Kong on Sunday, the Hong Kong government said in a statement. “Mr. Edward Snowden left Hong Kong today on his own accord for a third country through a lawful and normal channel," the statement noted.

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Snowden, who had hidden in the city since June 10, fled Hong Kong two days after the U.S. government issued a request to the Hong Kong government for his arrest. But the documents provided by the U.S. government were not sufficient for Snowden’s arrest under Hong Kong law, so “there is no legal basis to restrict Mr. Snowden from leaving Hong Kong,” the government statement read.

Snowden could face 30 years in prison for charges of theft, espionage and theft of government property. The Hong Kong government notified the U.S. government of Snowden’s departure.

Snowden reportedly left for Moscow aboard an Aeroflot flight, according to the Guardian. WikiLeaks released a statement saying that Snowden is "bound for a democratic nation via a safe route for the purposes of asylum and is being escorted by diplomats and legal advisors from WikiLeaks." The organization posted a note on Twitter saying that Snowden landed in Moscow. 

The Hong Kong government also stated that it has formally written to the U.S. government to ask for clarification about reports of the hacking of computer systems by U.S. agencies.