Tuesday, September 6, 2016

"The never-been-told story of those two pivotal weeks when [Edward Snowden] was hidden in the depths of a Hong Kong slum"

Late on the evening of June 10, 2013, a cellphone rang in one of the dozens of decrepit, filthy apartment complexes that line the streets in the Lai Chi Kok area of Kowloon. Supun, a 32-year-old native of Colombo, Sri Lanka, who has languished in Hong Kong’s refugee system since 2005, took a call in a cramped 150-square-foot apartment he shared with his partner Nadeeka and one-year-old daughter Suwasistiki. The voice on the other end of the phone was his immigration lawyer Robert Tibbo, asking to meet outside on the crowded sidewalk. “I was scared to ask questions,” Supun said. “I told Nadeeka, ‘I don’t know why he’s coming.’ I thought it had to with my [asylum] case.”

Reflexively, he brought his baby daughter outside with him. There, he was met by Tibbo, Jonathan Man and Edward Snowden. Asked if he recognized the American, Supun lied and said yes. “I was very scared,” he said, and thought Snowden was in the military because of his short haircut.

Supun recalled the three men whispering amongst themselves and overheard them talking about someone being followed. “They told me he was staying with me. Feed him and don’t talk to nobody about him,” he said. Confused, he nonetheless obliged.


another Snowden lawyer who worked alongside Tibbo: “We knew (the asylum seekers) because we had helped them on their (immigration cases). And we knew they would not betray us.”