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  • Aug 23, 2014
  • Updated: 5:00am
NewsHong Kong

Hong Kong, Manila to hold talks on bus hostage crisis

Aquino maintains Philippines was not to blame for deaths of eight Hongkongers but agrees to ministerial discussions after meeting C.Y. Leung

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 October, 2013, 2:59pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 October, 2013, 10:09am

Hong Kong and the Philippine authorities have finally agreed to begin official talks over the Manila bus hostage crisis that left eight Hongkongers dead more than three years ago.

But neither Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying nor victims' families expect an early resolution while Philippine President Benigno Aquino has insisted that he will make no apology, saying the lone gunman was to blame.

This matter, unless it is resolved properly, will continue to stand in the way of the normal relationships between Hong Kong and the Philippines
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying

"We're taking a small step in the right direction," Leung said in Bali during the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit. "[But] I don't think anyone should overpromise the results of further dialogue between Hong Kong and the Philippines."

He said Aquino had agreed to his suggestion that ministerial meetings should take place "as soon as possible" to discuss how to follow up on the matter.

"The Philippine side, in the beginning, took the position that the matter has been resolved. I did not agree. I believe, and I made the case to the Philippine side, that this matter, unless it is resolved properly, will continue to stand in the way of the normal relationships between Hong Kong and the Philippines," Leung said.

At a 40-minute meeting on Monday night, attended by two senior Hong Kong officials and seven Philippine officials and ministers, Aquino reiterated, according to Philippine media, that his government had the "deepest regret" for the victims, but stressed that it did not mean that "we are at fault as a country, as a government, as a people".

Leung was quoted as citing the government response to last year's Lamma ferry disaster as an illustration that Hong Kong officials would apologise for tragedies for which they were not directly responsible.

"That's your culture," Aquino was reported as replying. "But in our system … we cannot admit wrongdoing if it's not ours. From our perspective, there is one lone gunman responsible for this tragedy."

However, Aquino agreed to send Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to brief victims' families on the Philippine judicial processes and status of cases.

The Hong Kong government did not announce the meeting had taken place until Philippine media uploaded video clips. The Hong Kong side took no photos or videos at the meeting.

Tse Chi-kin, whose younger brother Masa Tse Ting-chunn was killed, said it was "unacceptable" that Aquino put all the blame on the gunman and that he had lost faith in whatever promises the Philippine government might make.

"We met with the Philippine secretary of justice on the first anniversary of the incident in Manila but we have heard nothing ever since and the promises made are yet to be honoured," Tse said.

He urged the Hong Kong government to follow up closely on any future promises the Philippine side made as they tend to "say one thing and do another".

Legislator James To Kun-sun urged the central government to take sterner measures in its engagement with Manila to ensure Hongkongers' safety abroad.



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This article is now closed to comments

Relji Joseph
So you are saying the substantial GDP of philippines is from 4,000 HKD which after expenses the 500,000 ( considering all FDH are filpino) FDH sents to their country; you should be really blind to say that. Its true that the country heavily depends on savings of its foreign employees but saying the DH's money counts for their GDP...u make me laugh.
the sun also rises
of course,our killed hostages were brutally murdered by that Philipino gunman three years ago and he had to take the responsibility.Yet don't forget, if a train crashes into another one,of course the train-driver has to bear the result, but why should the Railway Miniister resign to take up the responisbiliit ?.Now that the incumbent Manila mayor has apologized for the killings of our hostages but not the then mayor,a Mr.Lim who could have solved the crisis in a more proper way----suppressing the gunman at an earlier stage---while he several times stood by the exit of the coach,with his rifle hung down beside him.Right ? The whole tragedy was a farce indeed ! Our killed hostages were really innocent victims.A proper apology from the Philippine president Aquino III is deemed necessary and it never means that his whole nation has to apologize for an individual's errors committed but will definitely help ease our tense relationship with the Philippines which caused sharp decline of our travellers to that beautiful nation and not to say the imports of maids,fruist and...Wake up, Aquino III ! If your late parents were in your place,they would have done differently from yours ! it can be sure.
I would hope that it has already taken place, but the HK and Chinese governments should review how they react to any similar overseas crises in future. Who do they send to offer advice and assistance to the overseas government on how best to resolve the crisis and how quickly do they do this?
time was a sad tragedy, but time for closure on both sides. the families need to move on instead of forcing an apology & more compensation.
Would you think that if it was your loved-ones who were killed? I doubt it.
Like i said, its time for closure. It was a lone gunman. Do you see the british, american or chinese govt asking for compensation & apology from the Kenyan govt massacre ?
Relji Joseph
Yes, I would have moved on ...I wouldn't just force some country to apologise. They might have handled the situation not smart, but thats how things work there, have you noticed how that country works and why they are still not attained anything?? this is why.... when u asking that country to apologise, you are trying to prove that country has no self-respect.
John Adams
crisis ?
Crisis !
A small step makes a difference. Let's observe what and how our government acts, don't just complain and against whatever she proposes. We shouldn't dramatise this tragedy.
the lone gunman might have been the perpertrator, but Manila's so-called security forces screwed up real bad for all to see, and apparently misfired and killed some of the hostages as well. Now if that's not the fault of the Filipino government, I don't know what is.




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