They can’t even take our petition, say families of Manila bus tragedy victims
Relatives and survivors leave envelope outside consulate when no one is there to meet them
Ada Lee and Raissa Robles in Manila
Survivors and relatives of victims in the Manila bus tragedy who marched on the Philippine consulate yesterday said it had been irresponsible in not arranging a representative to receive their petition, despite a promise to do so.
Tearful family members of killed tour guide Masa Tse Ting-chunn and survivor Yik Siu-ling placed their petition outside the Philippine consulate in Admiralty yesterday morning after observing a minute of silence. They wrote "Justice undone. We will never forget" on the envelope.
The petition, delivered on the third anniversary of the hostage crisis, in which eight Hongkongers were shot dead by a sacked policeman, reiterated their four demands to Manila - an apology, compensation, punishment of responsible officials and improved safety for tourists. Tse Chi-kin, elder brother of Masa, said the consulate had previously told the Security Bureau that it would send someone to receive the petition although the consulate was closed every Friday and Saturday. But it changed its mind yesterday morning.
"They can't even fulfil this simple and basic promise. This exactly reflects how much respect it has paid to the incident these three years," he said.
"Receiving a petition isn't complicated. Everyone can see how sincere [Manila] is."
The family later visited Masa Tse's grave in Diamond Hill, offering food and drinks that he had liked, such as red wine and coffee.
Families and survivors rejected an apology from new Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada on Tuesday, saying it was insincere.
Tse's mother Lee Mei-chun, and injured survivors Yik and Joe Chan Kwok-chu, filed a writ in the High Court on Thursday claiming compensation from the Philippine government and eight officials. Yik and Chan filed a separate claim against Hong Thai Travel Services, whose tour they took, for negligence and breach of duty. A spokesman for Philippine President Benigno Aquino refused to comment on the lawsuit yesterday, saying the government had yet to see the writ.
As for whether the Philippine government would send an emissary to Hong Kong, he said the matter would be referred to the Department of Foreign Affairs.
In a rare move, state broadcaster CCTV included news of the petition in its bulletins last night.
On August 23, 2010, Rolando Mendoza took 22 Hongkongers and three Filipinos captive on a bus in Manila. He shot dead seven tourists and their guide before being killed in a bungled rescue.