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Sri Lanka goes after refugees who sheltered Snowden in Hong Kong

Sri Lanka goes after refugees who sheltered Snowden in Hong KongSri Lankan asylum seekers living in Hong Kong fear they are being illegally pursued by police after sheltering the U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden in the city, BBC said on Thursday.

Criminal investigators from Sri Lanka are believed to have visited Hong Kong looking for them, their lawyer said. At the same time, the Sri Lankan police have denied the allegations. Law enforcement authorities from mainland China or other countries have no jurisdiction in Hong Kong.

The lawyer representing the men, Robert Tibbo, said that at least two officers from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Sri Lanka police visited Hong Kong in December looking for them.

"We have become aware of Sri Lankan police taking active steps to locate my clients," he said.

"They identified themselves to members of the Sri Lankan community in Hong Kong. They carried photographs and files," the lawyer added.

Sri Lankan police spokesman Priyantha Jayakodi said the allegation was "a complete lie". He said police had no investigation in Hong Kong or any other country on any refugee case

However, Tibbo said the evidence came from Sri Lankans living in Hong Kong who were approached on the street in late December by people who carried official identification.

His clients fed and housed Snowden for two weeks in June 2013 when he fled the U.S. after leaking thousands of documents belonging to the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA).

The former IT contractor subsequently left Hong Kong for Moscow.

The names of the asylum seekers, Kellapatha Supun Thilina and Debagma Kankanalamage Ajith Pushpa Kumara, were revealed last year by Tibbo, ahead of the September premiere of the film Snowden by the director Oliver Stone. He said that it would have been difficult to keep their identities secret after the film's release.

Tibbo believes the Sri Lankan government began investigating the asylum seekers shortly afterwards.

The asylum seekers have since moved to "safer" locations and have notified Hong Kong's immigration department. They also plan to file a police report.

Tibbo represents both men, along with Snowden and Vanessa Rodel, an asylum seeker from the Philippines who also gave refuge to the U.S. whistleblower in Hong Kong.
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