Manila talks continue as deadline passes

Leung praises 'positive attitude' but won't be drawn on ultimatum over 2010 bus killings

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 December, 2013, 4:29am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 October, 2016, 2:38pm

Hong Kong is still negotiating with the Philippines over the deadly hostage incident of 2010, four weeks after Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying imposed a one-month deadline for Manila to show progress in the talks or face unspecified sanctions.

Leung praised Manila yesterday for having shown a "positive and practical attitude towards resolving the matter", but sidestepped questions regarding the ultimatum. A spokesman for his office said the Philippine government had not asked Hong Kong to drop or extend the deadline.

In Manila, Herminio Coloma, secretary of the Presidential Communications Operations Office, said no update could be provided. "We continue to work quietly with Hong Kong to achieve a mutually satisfactory conclusion," he said.

Coloma declined to discuss the progress of the negotiations.

Leung said both sides had been maintaining close contact "and we are making progress". He did not say if the progress so far satisfied the condition he set on November 5, that Hong Kong would take "necessary actions" unless the Philippines made "substantial progress" within a month in talks to demand an official apology and compensation for the families of the victims.

About two weeks after Hong Kong issued the ultimatum, the Philippine side gave an undisclosed sum to one of the survivors, Yik Siu-ling, to help with her medical expenses.

Both Hong Kong and Manila said in a joint statement at the time that the money was raised through donations by Filipino businessmen and was given "as a manifestation of the Filipinos' humane consideration of the plight of the victims and their families". Leung described the progress as "substantial".

On August 23, 2010, armed former policeman Rolando Mendoza took a busload of Hong Kong tourists hostage in central Manila to demand his reinstatement in the police force. An 11-hour botched police rescue ended in bloodshed.

Eight Hongkongers were killed, and at least two others were seriously injured. One of them, Jason Leung Song-xue, suffered brain injury and is still receiving treatment at Tuen Mun Hospital. Yik lost two-thirds of her jaw when Mendoza shot her in the face.

No progress over an apology or compensation was made until October, after Leung raised the issue with Aquino during the Apec summit in Bali, Indonesia.