(REUTERS) — A former contractor for the U.S. National Security Agency, charged by the United States with espionage, was allowed to leave Hong Kong on Sunday, his final destination as yet unknown, because a U.S. request to have him arrested did not comply with the law, the Hong Kong government said.

Edward Snowden left for Moscow on Sunday and his final destination may be Cuba, Ecuador, Iceland or Venezuela, according to various reports. The move is bound to infuriate Washington, wherever he ends up.

“It’s a shocker,” said Simon Young, a law professor with Hong Kong University. “I thought he was going to stay and fight it out. The U.S. government will be irate.”

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