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Prism leaker 'still in Hong Kong'

The former CIA employee who leaked top-secret information about US surveillance programmes is still in Hong Kong, according to the editor of a newspaper that published an interview with him.

Edward Snowden appeared to be reaching out to the public with the interview, said South China Morning Post news editor Chow Chung Yan.

There has been no word on the 29-year-old American's whereabouts since he checked out of his Hong Kong hotel on Monday.

Mr Chow declined to give details about the interview other than to say it took place on Wednesday at a secure location.

Mr Snowden said in the interview that he wished to stay in Hong Kong as long as he was welcome and added he had evidence of US government hacking in the territory.

The whistleblower, who has been both praised and condemned for releasing documents about US phone and internet surveillance programmes, said he was "neither a traitor nor hero. I'm an American".

Asked about his choice of Hong Kong to leak the information, he said: "I am not here to hide from justice; I am here to reveal criminality."

He said he had several opportunities to flee from Hong Kong, but that he "would rather stay and fight the United States government in the courts, because I have faith in Hong Kong's rule of law".

"My intention is to ask the courts and people of Hong Kong to decide my fate," he said.

Mr Snowden arrived in Hong Kong from his home in Hawaii on May 20, just after taking leave from his National Security Agency contracting firm Booz Allen Hamilton, which has since fired him. US authorities have yet to bring charges against him or file an extradition request with Hong Kong.

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