Hong Kong's security minister said Wednesday there has been no sign of the territory's Internet connection hub being hacked as reportedly claimed by former U.S. intelligence contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok said there was no report of an unusual data flow from the Hong Kong Internet Exchange at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, which would be an indication of hacking.
"The Internet Exchange has told us its 24-hour monitoring found no sign of it being hacked," Lai said during a special meeting held by the Legislative Council. "But we are readily prepared."
In an interview with a Hong Kong newspaper earlier this month, Snowden said that the U.S. government has been hacking computers in Hong Kong and China since 2009, with targets including Chinese University of Hong Kong, public officials, businesses and students in Hong Kong and the mainland.
As for Snowden, who is believed to be in Hong Kong, Lai declined to reveal whether the U.S. government has contacted Hong Kong for his extradition.
"Due to the complicated matters (of Snowden's case), it is not appropriate for me to reveal any operation in the past or future, but that the authorities will strictly act according to laws and remain highly concerned about Hong Kong's Internet safety," Lai said.
Hong Kong has signed an extradition treaty with the United States, but no official procedure on that has been taken.
Snowden has said he will stay in Hong Kong until he is "asked to leave."
The Global Times, a Chinese state-run English newspaper, said in its editorial Wednesday that extraditing Snowden now seems "an inconceivable option."
"Hong Kong should follow its own laws and procedures as well as public opinion, the key factor, to address the issue. The (Hong Kong government) might as well be more candid in dealing with this incident, without excessive consideration of Sino-American relations...rather than being told by Beijing or Washington what to do."