• Sun
  • Jul 13, 2014
  • Updated: 1:29am

Manila hostage crisis

Seven Hong Kong tourists and one tour guide were killed and 13 people were injured when a disgruntled former police officer opened fire on a bus full of Hong Kong tourists after hijacking it in Manila on August 23, 2010. Dissatisfied with the Philippine government's handling of the crisis and the ensuing investigation, Hong Kong issued a black travel alert against the Philippines and later introduced other sanctions. The two governments and victims' families reached an agreement on April 23, 2014 in which survivors and victims' families accepted an undisclosed amount of compensation from Manila and the Hong Kong government agreed to lift sanctions. 

NewsHong Kong

Aquino has ‘no plans’ to apologise over Manila bus tragedy despite sanctions

Philippine president says apology could create legal liability as diplomatic restrictions come into effect

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 February, 2014, 2:07pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 February, 2014, 5:26pm

Philippine President Benigno Aquino says he has no plans to apologise to Hong Kong over the Manila bus hostage incident, as Hong Kong’s diplomatic sanctions against Manila take effect on Wednesday.

The Philippine leader gave his first public response to the sanctions in an interview with The New York Times.

Hong Kong has cancelled 14-day visa-free arrangements for visiting Philippine officials and diplomatic passport holders, retaliation for Manila’s refusal to offer an official apology to the Hong Kong victims of the 2010 tragedy.

But Aquino told the Times that he had no plans to apologise, as doing so could create a legal liability.

The Philippine president also noted that China had not paid compensation to the families of Filipinos who have died in episodes there, the Times reported.

In Hong Kong, financial services legislator Christopher Cheung Wah-fung, a native of the Philippines, said the Hong Kong government’s sanctions were suitable.

“The business community in the Philippines is concerned about whether Hong Kong will take further actions, which may affect business and trade between the two places,” Cheung said. “But they do feel that the president should apologise to pacify the [victims’] families.”

Executive councillor and legislator Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee said on Wednesday that she did not expect Manila to make further concessions and it was possible there could be some twists in the lingering saga after Aquino’s term expires in 2016.

Aquino is prevented by law from seeking re-election when his six-year term expires.

Ip said very careful consideration would be needed before the government escalated its sanctions.

“If our sanctions affect the Filipino maids, the Philippine government could retaliate,” said Ip, adding that it was unlikely Hong Kong could ban Philippine imports because of a single incident as Hong Kong is a member of the World Trade Organisation.

Democrat James To Kun-sun, who is helping the families of the victims and survivors of the incident, said the sanctions sent a clear message to the Philippine government that Hong Kong could back up strong words with actions.

He also said it was too early to talk about further sanctions.

“We should trust the government and allow it more time. We also need to allow Manila time to weigh their options,” said To, who said the families were standing firm on their demand for an official apology from Aquino.

People Power lawmaker Albert Chan Wai-yip called for tougher measures – including banning Filipino maids from working in the city.

The family members of the survivors and victims have also asked for compensation for the incident.


Related topics

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

THe HK government wants to take some action...and chooses a sanction that affects and inconveniences a small number of people while being careful to not tread on any significant exchange relationships, like "Filipino maids". Wow. I can just see the Aquino government cowering in the corner licking its wounds. No wonder they aren't responding. While dignify a pathetic, idiotic, and inconsequential nuisance action with a response? It's unfortunate that the HK government, in tripping over itself in wanting to make a gesture, chooses such a trivial one which demeans the memory of those victims more than anything else the Filipino government has ever done.
The UN should sponsor a 180-nation Apology Summit where everybody apologizes to everyone else. Just leave my Nobel Peace Prize outside the door.
I think he should apologize after the Hong Kong government apologizes to Indonesia for mistreating and abusing their maids and treating them like slaves.
i think manila city mayor sincere apology are good enough and should be accepted by the hksar government... the request for philippines president's to apologized are too demanding... james to action is for his own political motivation...in this case, xi jinping should apologized as well to those indonesian maid who are being abused by their hk employer for the negligence of hksar government... since, these abuses happened on several occasion already and hksar haven't done anything to this moment...


SCMP.com Account