By Bobby Yip
Hong Kong became the focus of the world’s media this week after Edward Snowden, a former contractor at the National Security Agency (NSA) who leaked classified NSA information, gave The Guardian newspaper an exclusive interview and then went to ground somewhere in the financial hub – a town more used to a focus on money-making matters.
With more than 6,000 people living in every square kilometer, Hong Kong is one of the most crowded cities in the world. After checking out of the Mira Hotel where he first stayed, the public has no idea where Snowden’s current “safe house” is. One magazine article even suggested Snowden head ‘offshore’ and hide on one of the island’s iconic “junks”.
After The Guardian’s world scoop, there were failed attempts to chase after Snowden or chase after the few journalists who had met him. As the media chased after images, still photos and TV footage of Snowden (The Guardian released a few of their own to the media) have bombarded citizens here: on the front pages of newspapers and magazines, on local websites supporting him, on banners displayed on the streets, in the hands of protesters, on transportation, in shopping malls, and outside the famous Chung King Mansion.
There is seldom a story with so much interest but such a slim chance to approach the main character. I tried to depict Snowden from as many possible angles as I could think of, relating him to the lives of people here, and the support he gets.
This clandestine story is likely to drag on for a while, as Snowden may continue to hide somewhere, communicating with the public via live chat through the internet. To me, the question “Where in Hong Kong is Mr. Snowden?” is easy to answer. According to my images, he’s just around the corner.