H.K. "disappointed" as U.S. stays mum about snooping operations

Hong Kong's security chief on Wednesday said he was disappointed by Washington's reluctance to reveal its surveillance operation despite an official request made by the Hong Kong government.

"The U.S. government, so far, has not yet replied. We feel very disappointed," Security Secretary Lai Tung-kwok said after addressing the legislature, adding that Hong Kong on Friday officially demanded an explanation from the United States regarding large-scale electronic spying exposed by U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Snowden, who is believed to be at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport since leaving Hong Kong on Sunday, revealed that the U.S. National Security Agency has been hacking into Hong Kong's Internet and phone networks, including an Internet exchange hub at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Lai said the university's own monitoring has found no sign of being hacked.

"Free flow of information, personal privacy and Internet safety are of utmost importance. We expect a satisfactory and comprehensive reply to the Hong Kong people from the U.S. government as soon as possible," he said, adding, "The Hong Kong government will forcefully pursue the matter."

The statement came after the United States slammed Hong Kong and China for letting Snowden travel to Russia, despite an extradition request.

Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly said Snowden is a "free man" on Russian soil, further angering the United States.