Plan to fly in key witnesses for Manila Bay inquest

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 November, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 November, 1997, 12:00am

Police are proposing to fly the Philippine pilot, boat owner and the tour guide responsible for the Manila Bay cruise that killed seven Hong Kong people last year to the SAR for the inquest.

A police spokesman said the Philippine Consulate had been asked to invite key individuals involved in the August 15 cruise to attend the hearing scheduled between January 19 and 27.

These include the tour guide, Sally Yip, who is being hunted by Philippine authorities, and a doctor who certified the seven victims dead. Police would try to contact Ms Yip through her former employer, Landmark Travel and Tours, in Manila.

The spokesman said they were also hoping to fly the boat's owner, Rogelio Alenzuela, and the pilot, Romeo Parcon, who are awaiting trial in Manila on charges of negligence.

More than 20 Hong Kong survivors, mostly relatives of the victims, would be invited.

But the spokesman said the individuals in the Philippines had no legal obligation to attend and the final decision on who should appear would be made by the coroner and the prosecution counsel.

'We have requested copies of any statements by the boat owner, pilot and Sally Yip . . . in case they do not come to Hong Kong,' he said.

Ousted legislator Andrew Cheng Kar-foo, who is helping the Manila Bay action group, said they were hoping the result of the inquest would help the survivors to pursue damages.

Philippine authorities said the 'approximate' cause of the incident was overloading of the boat which had an illegal second deck.