The Hong Kong lawyer for a group of refugees who sheltered former NSA contractor Edward Snowden four years ago says the southern Chinese city's immigration department has rejected their asylum requests.
Robert Tibbo said on Monday immigration officials denied the applications by the four adults and three children, in what he said is retaliation for helping Snowden. The applicants are from the Philippines and Sri Lanka.
Snowden hid out in Hong Kong for two weeks in June 2013 after he leaked documents revealing extensive US government surveillance. His whereabouts were a mystery during that time.
It was not until last year that the role Tibbo and his clients played in sheltering Snowden was revealed. Tibbo said his clients will appeal the ruling. They have also applied for refugee status in Canada.