Families of Manila hostage victims hail sanctions vote

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 November, 2013, 4:07am
UPDATED : Friday, 08 November, 2013, 10:00am

Families of the victims of the 2010 Manila hostage killings welcomed a vote by lawmakers in favour of a motion pressing the government to impose sanctions on Manila and cancel visa-free access for Filipinos.

Lawmakers voted to pass a non-binding motion by People Power's Albert Chan Wai-yip calling on the government to impose sanctions. No breakdown of the vote was given.

They also voted by 41 to three, with seven abstentions, in favour of former security chief Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee's amendment calling for visa-free access to be scrapped.

A further amendment by Chan's party colleague, Raymond Chan Chi-chuen, calling for restrictions on Filipino maids was withdrawn after Ip's was passed.

The votes chime with a warning by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying this week that he would impose sanctions if Manila failed to meet the demands of the families of the eight Hongkongers killed by gunman Rolando Mendoza and the seven people injured in the bus siege and botched rescue attempt.

Watch: Manila bus hostage-taking incident

Survivors and families want an apology, compensation and punishment for officials involved in the affair.

"The government now has a basis to change from being passive to taking the initiative to act," said Tse Chi-kin, brother of tour guide Masa Tse Ting-chunn, one of those killed.

Tse said he would accept only an apology from the Philippine government, not the Manila city government, which has made overtures to the families since flamboyant former president Joseph Estrada was elected mayor earlier this year.

Addressing the Legislative Council yesterday, Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok cited a public opinion poll that found 65 per cent of Hongkongers supported sanctions.

"I believe the whole Hong Kong public are united and … share one common goal - that is, that all [the families'] demands are satisfactorily met," Lai said.

After the vote, Lai said Ip's amendment would "bring inconvenience" to people from both places.