The families are planning to appeal against the Immigration Department’s decisions. Photo: RTHK
Asylum seekers who helped shelter US intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden in Hong Kong 2013 have had their claims to stay in the city rejected.
Lawyers representing the asylum seekers said the decisions reached by the Director of Immigration were completely unreasonable and they planned to appeal. The lawyers also renewed their calls for the Canadian government to step in and take the asylum seekers.
A Sri Lankan couple and their two children, another man from Sri Lanka, and a woman from the Philippines who has a young daughter, were all told on Monday that their asylum bids had failed.
Marc-Andre Seguin, a Canadian attorney representing the families in their applications to move to Canada, said they have clearly been targeted by Hong Kong immigration officials.
“They were called for screening, deportation interviews all on the same day last March. The decisions to reject their claims in Hong Kong came on the same day as well”, Seguin said.
“We’re talking about people who entered Hong Kong years apart from one another, who submitted asylum claims years apart from one another, and yet all these decisions are coming at the very same time. Clearly there is targeting here and our clients have reason for concern”, he said.
The fact that Snowden sought shelter with the asylum seekers became well known across the world when a film about his revelations on National Security Agency surveillance came out last year.
The family from Sri Lanka said the publicity surrounding their involvement led to their relatives back home being questioned, harassed and threatened by the Sri Lankan authorities. They also said they believed agents from Sri Lanka had been sent to Hong Kong to try to locate them.