News / Asia

    Hong Kong Group Presses Philippines for Apology Over Hostage Killings

    A priest consoles Amy Leung during a Hong Kong memorial service of her 58-year-old husband Ken, 21-year-old daughter Doris and 14-year-old daughter Jessie, who were kiled during a bus hijacking in the Philippines on Aug. 23, 2010.
    A priest consoles Amy Leung during a Hong Kong memorial service of her 58-year-old husband Ken, 21-year-old daughter Doris and 14-year-old daughter Jessie, who were kiled during a bus hijacking in the Philippines on Aug. 23, 2010.
    Simone Orendain

    Philippine government officials have met with representatives of victims and a survivor of last year's botched hostage rescue in Manila that left nine people dead.

    Representatives of the eight Hong Kong tourists who died say their meeting was "useful." But they expressed disappointment their demands were not met.  

    During the hour-long meeting at the Department of Justice in Manila, Secretary Leila de Lima heard from six Chinese nationals who wanted four things from the Philippine government: criminal charges against certain officials who oversaw the hostage crisis, an official apology from the president, compensation for the victims and better protections for tourists traveling to the country.

    Immediately after the meeting, de Lima said she would bring all of their points to President Benigno Aquino. She also reiterated that under Philippine law anyone can make a demand for compensation from the government.

    “We recognize there were lapses, there were inadequacies in the handling of that unfortunate incident," she said. "That is why the Philippine government has been exerting serious efforts to address all these gaps, all these deficiencies in the competence of the concerned agencies.  We need closure to this particular matter and we ask for understanding.”

    On August 23 last year, a fired senior police officer hijacked a tour bus filled with tourists from Hong Kong and demanded his old job back, a drama that played out live over international news channels.  The 11-hour siege ended with eight tourists and the hostage-taker dead after a mishandled rescue attempt by police.

    De Lima’s office investigated the incident and found there was a lack of clear direction to officials during the siege.  In the report, de Lima recommended criminal and or administrative charges against 10 people.  

    But just five officials, including Manila’s mayor and police officers, face administrative charges. One person was fired over how he handled the gunman’s request to be reinstated.

    Lee Ying Chuen was on the tour bus. She says returning to the Philippines nearly a year later has been hard, but she says she had to do it to “for justice.”  Lee says the group had wanted to meet with President Aquino.

    “We were disappointed when we requested one meeting with him when we were in Manila.  That he also refused to meet with us, refused to have a dialogue with us, refused to listen to our demands," Lee said. "So we have been disappointed many times before, in our experience.  And I do hope we will not be disappointed again.”

    The president’s press secretary says President Aquino repeatedly expressed regret over the incident, but the group says that is not the same as an apology.

    Hong Kong legislator James To acted as spokesman for the group that met with Justice Secretary de Lima.

    “Of course we cannot say we are satisfied with the result," he said. "But at least we know more about the procedure and we will liaise closely more with her office.”

    To says the group hopes to put pressure on the president through de Lima, who said she would meet with Mr. Aquino right after the meeting with the Chinese nationals.

    In recent weeks, the government has staffed tourist destinations in metro Manila with extra police. Hong Kong’s travel ban to the Philippines since the day of the hostage crisis remains in place.

    You May Like

    Russia Sees Brexit Impact Widespread but Temporary

    Officials, citizens react to Britain’s vote to exit European Union with mix of pleasure, understanding and concern

    Obama Encourages Entrepreneurs to Seek Global Interconnection

    President tells entrepreneurs at global summit at Stanford University to find mentors, push ahead with new ideas on day after Britain voters decide to exit EU

    Video Some US Gun Owners Support Gun Control

    Defying the stereotype, Dave Makings says he'd give up his assault rifle for a comprehensive program to reduce gun violence

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora