Running From the Feds? Don’t Go to Hong Kong

<a href="">Stripsa</a>/<a href="">Ohmega1982</a>/Shutterstock

Ever since Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who went public with details about two government surveillance programs, fled for Hong Kong, many have questioned whether he made the right choice. Why didn’t he go to WikiLeaks’ former base of operations, Iceland, where some information activists are lobbying to grant him asylum? (Here’s why Iceland may not have been a great option.) Why not France, which has an extradition treaty with the United States but, as Slate points out, also has a “history of reluctance to send people into the US criminal justice system”?

Since 2003, 137 countries have extradited or deported 7,066 people to the United States. Mexico, Colombia, and Canada are at the top of the list, according to data from the US Marshals Service. The number of extraditions by country varies widely and likely depends not just on relations with the United States but how many suspects flee there (Mexico and Canada clearly being favorites for fugitives making a run for the border). While Iceland did not send anyone back to the United States during this time, Hong Kong was number 18, with 47 extraditions.

Top 20 Countries that Extradite to the UNITED STATES

  1. Mexico    2,325 extraditions
  2. Colombia    1,272
  3. Canada    867
  4. Dominican Republic    309
  5. United Kingdom    182
  6. Jamaica    142
  7. Costa Rica    132
  8. Spain    124
  9. Germany    113
  10. Netherlands    87
  11. Belize    82
  12. Thailand    62
  13. Panama    60
  14. Israel    58
  15. Poland    54
  16. Philippines    51
  17. France    48
  18. Hong Kong    47
  19. Australia    45
  20. Italy    42

View the full list here.