Lawyer claims HK plans to detain three asylum-seeker families

Local | 17 Jul 2017 6:10 pm

An attorney representing the three families who sheltered US whistleblower Edward Snowden in Hong Kong says attempts are being made to remove him from the case and detain the families.

The lawyer, Robert Tibbo, said today that the Immigration Department is seeking to have him removed as the counsel. 

The threat of detention and deportation has loomed over the three families since May, when the Director of Immigration rejected their asylum claims. But Tibbo said this threat has intensified in recent weeks. 

Tibbo explained that the families – who provided shelter to Snowden in 2013 when he was hiding – have been reporting to the Immigration Department's Ma Tau Kok branch every six weeks as required. 

But they have now been told that they will need to report to the Castle Peak Bay Immigration Centre from August 1 instead. That's a facility where asylum seekers are detained. 

The families attended their first hearings at the Torture Claims Appeal Board today as they seek to challenge the authorities’ decision to reject their asylum claims. 

But Tibbo said immigration authorities have also made systematic moves to remove him as the counsel for the families. 

Tibbo said it was clear that the families are being singled out because of their association with Snowden.-RTHK

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