Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Deadly Hostage Crisis In Philippines Arouses Shock And Anger Among Hong Kong Community

HONG KONG, Aug 25 (Bernama) -- Shock and anger continued to ripple through Hong Kong on Wednesday after the deaths of eight tourists in a hostage standoff in the Philippines, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported.

On live TV from Manila late Monday, Hong Kong residents watched security forces storm a bus in which a former Philippine police officer had been holding 15 tourists from Hong Kong hostage for more than 11 hours.

Through television screens, viewers watched in horror as muzzle flashes accompanied the sound of gunshots by Roland Mendoza.

Mendoza, who had demanded to be reinstated into the police force after he was dishonorably dismissed, was killed in the exchange.

"It was a horrific sight. I couldn't go to sleep after watching it all. I felt utterly devastated," office worker Kelvin Chang, in his late 20s, told Yonhap News agency. He was not alone.

More than 53,000 people flocked to a dedicated page on Facebook, the world's largest social networking site, which was set up to help the bereaved families and to provide a platform for the public to post messages of condolence.

A total of 18 offline points were set up throughout Hong Kong for the public to send condolences and regards to the victims and their families.

"Our priority is to look after the injured and the families of the dead who are now in Manila and those who are in Hong Kong," said Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang at a media session Tuesday. "We are helping them."

Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao also expressed deep sorrow late Tuesday for the families of the eight slain Hong Kong tourists.

At the same time, Chinese authorities expressed disappointment over the way the situation was handled and demanded a full explanation from the Philippine government.

"Most regrettable, and to me, the outcome is very disappointing," said Tsang.

"This is a major tragedy. Disappointing that Hong Kong residents tried to make a pleasure trip to Manila and ended up with death and casualties. This is very tragic. And the way it was handled and particularly the outcome, I found it disappointing."

Some political and civic groups protested outside the Philippine consulate in central Hong Kong over the deaths, criticizing the Philippine government for not properly handling the situation.

"We strongly urge the Philippine government to give an account of the incident openly, explain the ways the incident was handled," said protester Leung Chun-ying.

Many Hong Kong citizens showed dissatisfaction with the Philippine government.

"It seemed to me that the Philippine government created the situation," 43-year old housewife Kate Cheung told Yonhap.

"I couldn't believe what I was seeing on TV. Did they really think of the hostages' safety before they barged into the bus like that?"

Meanwhile, Hong Kong Secretary for Security Ambrose Lee said late Tuesday the Chinese ambassador to the Philippines, Liu Jianchao, requested that Philippine authorities clearly identify whether the dead hostages were killed by the gunmen or accidentally by the special police during the confrontation.

The survivors and the bodies of the deceased are expected to return to Hong Kong by Wednesday evening.

The Hong Kong government announced flags will continue to be flown at half-staff at all the government offices Wednesday and Thursday as a token of mourning for the victims of the incident.

Social safety and stability of the Philippines, one of the world's most popular tourist destinations, are being questioned as a number of incidents involving foreigners have occurred in the Southeast Asian nation.

A Korean pastor was killed on Monday in a separate armed attack. The pastor, identified only by his surname, Cho, was heading home in his car from an airport after picking up seven others visiting him from South Korea.

Two others in the group were also kidnapped, but later released, and the assailants stole valuables from the group before fleeing, according to the South Korean foreign ministry.


Dang.. how can this be happened. It should take less than 5 minute for police to deal with the crisis, said senior policeman of Manila. The SWAT team shows their weaknesses in dealing with the kidnapper, they were not inadequately trained. Now Hong Kong and China black listed Philippine as their destination for safety and boycotting aftermath the incident that killed 8 of their people.

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