Snowden seeks Ecuador asylum after leaving HK

City A.M. Reporter
FUGITIVE former US spy agency contractor Edward Snowden is seeking asylum in Ecuador, the Quito government said last night, after Hong Kong let him leave its territory despite Washington’s efforts to extradite him on espionage charges.

An aircraft believed to be carrying Snowden landed in Moscow yesterday, and the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks said in a statement he was “bound for the Republic of Ecuador via a safe route for the purposes of asylum”.

A United States Justice Department official said yesterday: “The US is disappointed and disagrees with the determination by Hong Kong authorities not to honour the US request for the arrest of the fugitive.”

US authorities had said only on Saturday they were optimistic Hong Kong would cooperate over Snowden, who revealed extensive US government surveillance in the United States and abroad.

Snowden, who worked for the National Security Agency, had been hiding in Hong Kong since leaking details about the US surveillance activities to newspapers.