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  • Dec 20, 2014
  • Updated: 1:41am
NewsHong Kong

Victims of bungled bus hostage rescue operation prepare to sue Philippines

Brother of tour guide slain in hostage rescue operation that went wrong leads court threat as clock ticks down on opportunity for legal action

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 19 August, 2013, 4:58am

Survivors and families of victims of the bungled Manila hostage rescue three years ago will sue the Philippine government if their demands are not met by Friday.

The threat was made by Tse Chi-kin, the older brother of a tour guide killed in the bus hijacking drama in August 2010.

Friday marks the third anniversary of the incident in which eight Hongkongers - including Tse's brother, Masa Tse Ting-chunn - were killed after former policeman Rolando Mendoza took the 22 Hongkongers and three Filipinos on board the bus as hostages.

But this year, the day is also the legal deadline for survivors and victims' families to take action in the courts against the Philippine government.

The incident, including the gun fight that ensued when negotiations broke down after a 10-hour standoff, was broadcast live on television worldwide.

The Philippine government was roundly criticised over the police officers' handling of the situation and some held it responsible for the failure of the rescue attempt and the gun battle, which lasted 90 minutes.

Manila has never offered an apology for the incident.

"Our demands have stayed the same throughout the years, so we are giving [the Philippine government] one last week to meet them," said Tse.

"If not, we are prepared to take [it] to court."

Tse is demanding an apology from the Philippine government, an offer of compensation, punishment for the officials responsible for the bungled police operation and improved tourist safety.

Tse, 35, said that he was determined to pursue the demands so that he could move on emotionally. He said the aftermath of the incident had to be dealt with properly, or Hongkongers could never be sure whether their government would protect them if they ran into trouble abroad.

Tse said he had spent the past three years assiduously lobbying the government to take more action, but to no avail. He said monitoring the progress in the fight for his demands had become a daily habit and had worn him down.

The success of Taiwan's government in obtaining an apology from Manila for the fatal shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman by Coast Guard personnel also made Tse more determined to pursue his cause.

Li Yick-bin, a 74-year-old survivor of the hostage drama, said: "If you look at [the Taiwan incident], at least they were given an answer, an apology [by the Philippine government]. But us? It's like we are second-class people and can be ignored."

Li criticised the Hong Kong government as being helpless and Beijing for not backing Hongkongers.

"The Chinese government doesn't even treat Hongkongers as its own people," he said. "[Beijing] actually did nothing to help. At least the Taiwan government threatened to stop importing Filipino maids … you can see the difference some political pressure can make."

A spokesman for the Security Bureau said Hong Kong "will do its utmost to continue to follow up on the incident".

He said the local government had been liaising with Beijing and the Philippine consulate general to urge Manila to follow up on the four requests made by Tse and his group.

Since 2012, the Hong Kong government had contacted the consulate general 23 times for action on the requests, he said.

Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok said yesterday that the government would continue to pursue the matter.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs repeated the requests of the victims and their families to the Philippines at a foreign affairs meeting in June, he said.


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I believe this is the view of most Hongkoners. Let diplomatic affairs to be handled by Beijing while keeping internal affairs managed by Hong Kong people. This is the core concept of One Country Two Systems and have been written clearly on Basic Law. There is no conflict in asking Beijing to keep their hands off from interfering Hong Kong affairs on one hand and demanding their helps in dealing with any issues with foreign countries. At least Beijing has claimed itself committed to this promise. So if you don't understand this concept maecheung, you actually don't understand the Basic Law.
I applaud the way the President of Taiwan handled the situation with the Philippines. Everyone think he did what he did because of his low approval waiting at home but that's complete B.S. Just look at Hong Kong and you will see that when it comes to dealing with a country as corrupt as the Philippines, actions speak louder than words. Taiwan's president Ma Ying-jeou went to bat for the fisherman and the people of Taiwan. Hong Kong's Donal Tsang did not. Ma Ying Jeou wasn't going to coward out and let this situation slowly go away like Hong Kong. The man was willing to send out the Taiwanese Navy if he had too because the killing of the fisherman by the Philippine Coast Guard would/should had been considered a act of War.
A country like the Philippines that is rank as one of the worst in the word in corruption should not be trusted:
To trust them to conduct a honest and transparent investigation without threat of action is like letting a thief steal from you twice. Hong Kong should be well aware of this as all the idiots involved in the hostage rescue got a slapped on the wrist and left go.
If Donald Tsang had really wanted to go to bat for the people of Hong Kong, he should had threaten to deport the 250,000 + OFWs in the Hong Kong like what Taiwan did. But he clealry wasn't interesting in helping the people of Hong Kong.
I fully agree with yty07. If China were to get involved this should not be perceived as interference in local affairs as basically its about relations between 2 countries and external affairs are rightly handled by China.
Of course, whether Beijing wants to get involved is another matter as the Philippines have recently accused China of bullying them. China has plenty on its plate with regard to tensions over sovereignty and stuff so its unlikely they will do anything. So its back to CY. Come on , what progress has been made at the 23 meetings since 2012. Is he indicating that HK does not have any tough negotiators and the best we can do is maintain the black travel warning signal?
"Li criticised the Hong Kong government as being helpless and Beijing for not backing Hongkongers"
Is this the view of most Hongkongers? Hongkongers want Beijing to treat them as Chinese citizens, yet do no want Beijing to interfere with Hong Kong's affairs. Very interesting indeed! May be we should have a referendum?


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