HK team to investigate

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 31 August, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 31 August, 2010, 12:00am

Hong Kong police have been given permission to take part in the investigation into the Manila hostage tragedy, in which eight Hong Kong tourists were killed, after negotiations with Philippine authorities.

A team of police officials and forensic scientists yesterday morning met with Philippine officials in Manila to discuss arrangements for Hong Kong officers to collect evidence and conduct forensic examinations inside the tour bus involved in last week's hijacking.

The bus was being kept inside a military camp in Taguig city, south of Manila, after the tragedy. The Hong Kong police team was set to collect evidence from the bus as soon as yesterday afternoon, said assistant police commissioner Ng Ka-sing, who led the Hong Kong representatives.

'We have successfully reached an agreement with the Philippine authorities and we will go to resume forensic examinations and collect evidence on the bus later today,' Ng told RTHK after the meeting with Philippine judicial and police officials.

Ng said his team was expected to spend one day on the investigation. He added that he was looking to the Philippine side to arrange for Hong Kong police to conduct examinations on the firearms involved in the incident.

On Saturday, five Hong Kong police officials and two scientists who tried to conduct a forensic investigation were barred by Philippine police from boarding the coach.

A team of investigators from Hong Kong also boarded the bus last Tuesday to carry out a preliminary investigation the day after the hostages were killed.

Twenty-one tourists were on board the bus last Monday when it was hijacked by ex-policeman Rolando Mendoza who was armed with an M16 assault rifle.

Eight tourists were killed in the final stages of a 12-hour stand-off between Mendoza and police, triggering anger and grief in Hong Kong over the Philippine police's handling of the crisis.