Tse Chi-kin knows that many Hongkongers would like to put the Manila hostage crisis behind them, but he has never considered giving up his fight for justice for his younger brother, who was killed two years ago.
Tse vowed yesterday to press his claims against the Philippine government over the death of Masa Tse Ting-chunn, a tour guide, and seven Hong Kong tourists killed when disgruntled former policeman Rolando Mendoza hijacked their bus and opened fire on August 23, 2010.
"We could only sit and watch Masa die on the television two years ago," said Tse, 34. "We could do nothing to help him. Now he can never speak again. So what we can do is to fight for justice for him." He said his determination had not been shaken despite suffering repeated setbacks in his effort to file a legal case against the Philippines and what he says has been a lack of support from Hong Kong officials.
While Tse credited former chief executive with Donald Tsang Yam-kuen with showing concern for the victims' families by sending them sympathy cards, he said the government had not given him legal support.
He complained that Tsang's successor, Leung Chun-ying, has so far refused to commit to meeting the victims' families. "Is it the case that the chief executive has no say over Hong Kong's people right to life?" Tse said. "Does he need [approval from] the central government even on this?"
Tse said survivors and victims' families had approached several human rights lawyers in the Philippines over the last two years, but found none willing to take up their case. Tse suspected political pressure was to blame.
Tse and his family want a formal apology. Beyond that, they want compensation, for officials to be disciplined and better protection for Hong Kong tourists.
Tse said he has felt helpless contending with the complex diplomatic and economic relations between China and the Philippines. At times he has felt lonely, especially when friends questioned why the family continued to pursue its fight.
Tse has twice asked for legal aid but been rejected for unspecified reasons. The High Court will hear an appeal in October.
Tse will petition the Philippine consulate general today along with survivors Lee Ying-chuen, Yik Siu-ling and Joe Chan Kwok-chu and will meet Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok and the director of the Chief Executive's Office, Edward Yau Tang-wah, tomorrow.