Manila hostage crisis: Hong Kong presses for apology

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Two years after the Manila hostage crisis, Hong Kong families renew their demand for Philippine government apology

DEMAND FOR APOLOGY. A woman (C) amongst survivors and relatives of eight Hong Kong tourists who were killed exactly two years ago in a 2010 Philippine bus hostage fiasco in Manila cries as they gather outside the Philippines consulate in Hong Kong to demand an apology on August 23, 2012. The families had travelled to Manila in 2011 to press their case, but Philippine President Benigno Aquino however had ruled out an apology although he maintained he regretted the incident. AFP PHOTO / Philippe Lopez

HONG KONG, China – The families of 8 Hong Kong tourists who were killed in a Philippine hostage crisis renewed their demand for an apology from Manila on Thursday, August 23, as they marked the tragedy’s second anniversary.

The relatives and survivors observed a minute’s silence and chanted “We will never forget” as they handed a petition to the Philippines consulate. The hostage crisis in Manila occurred exactly two years ago today, on Aug 23, 2010.

“We’re very angry and disappointed,” said Tse Chi-hang, brother of tour guide Masa Tse who was killed when a sacked policeman seized a bus packed with tourists in a desperate bid to be reinstated to his job.

“From the beginning to the end, our request remains the same — that the Philippine government should apologize to the victims and their families.”

After lengthy negotiations and a bungled assault on the bus, the hostage-taker and eight tourists were killed and seven others were wounded in an incident that was broadcast live on television around the world.

The apparent incompetence of the police raiders outraged the Hong Kong and Chinese governments, which demanded formal explanations from Manila.

Hong Kong maintains a travel warning for the Philippines, citing the hostage crisis. The southern Chinese city has also complained about the light penalties meted out to officials involved in the operation.

President Benigno Aquino III has expressed regret and admitted the crisis should have been handled better, but refused to apologise when the victims’ families travelled to the site of the incident in Manila last year. – with reports from Agence France-Presse

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