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

Tunnel Bombs Highlight Savagery of Aleppo Fight

Rebels have used tunneling tactic near government buildings, command posts or supply routes to set off explosives; they detonated their largest bomb this week under Syria's intelligence headquarters More

Sierra Leone Launches New Initiative to Stop Ebola Spread

Government hopes Infection and Prevention Control Units, IPC, will help protect patients and healthcare workers More

UN Official: Fight Against Terrorism Must Not Violate Human Rights

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says efforts by states to combat terrorism are resulting in large scale rights violations against the very citizens they claim to defend More

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.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960s Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More