Manila survivors, relatives seek legal aid

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 August, 2011, 12:00am


Survivors of last year's Manila hostage crisis and families of the victims will apply for legal aid in Hong Kong today with a view to taking legal action against the Philippine authorities through the Hong Kong courts.

The families are determined to sue Philippine government officials over the attack by sacked policeman Rolando Mendoza, who killed seven Hong Kong tourists and their guide on a bus in Manila last year and injured another seven. Some of them held talks with a human rights lawyer in Manila last month about filing a case there and came away expressing confidence.

Tse Chi-kin, elder brother of murdered tour guide Masa Tse Ting-chunn, said the group could file lawsuits in either Hong Kong or Manila, or in both cities, but were still talking to legal experts. But the group had yet to decide whether it would be a civil or a criminal case in Hong Kong.

'We have considered that Hong Kong people could face some other problems when filing a lawsuit in the Philippines, including the integrity of the Philippine legal system, whether it is fair, open and just. So we are also considering legal action in Hong Kong,' he said.

Barrister and lawmaker Audrey Eu Yuet-mee said the Philippines would not normally recognise any ruling in Hong Kong. But the verdict in a local court could form part of the evidence if they were to pursue claims in the Philippines.

Tse, 33, will apply for legal aid with survivors Yik Siu-ling and Joe Chan Kwok-chu, with the help of lawmaker James To Kun-sun. Tse will return to Manila before August 23, the anniversary of the bloodbath, with his family and other survivors to pay tribute and to seek talks with officials.