The shooting of mainland diplomat Song Ronghua in the Philippines yesterday stunned people who knew him during his five-year posting to Hong Kong. The consul general to Cebu was shot in the neck in a lunchtime attack at a restaurant and was last night in a stable condition in hospital. Two other diplomats died following the incident. Song, who served as spokesman for the foreign ministry commissioner's office in Hong Kong between 2005 and 2010, was described as mild-mannered and helpful. READ MORE: Chinese diplomat and husband detained by Cebu police over double-fatal shooting in Philippines restaurant May Chan Suk-mei, secretary of the Hong Kong News Executives Association and news director of Commercial Radio, said she was shocked by the news. "I would be very surprised if he offended someone. We were used to contacting Mr Song to arrange interviews for China news. He was always gentle, soft-spoken, and helpful," said Chan. "Unlike the usual bureaucrats you would encounter, he was always prepared to offer assistance, say, giving you background information on issues and their importance." While in Hong Kong, Song forged good working relationships with foreign correspondents. He would often take them out for drinks and casual chats, impressing journalists as "easy-going" and "approachable". Last month in Cebu, at an event to celebrate China's National Day, Song danced with Cebu vice governor Agnes Magpale, and at a casual dinner with Philippines media recently, local journalists described him as amiable and articulate. In Hong Kong in 2008, Song was widely quoted in the media defending China's visa policy in the run-up to the Olympics, which had caused speculation that Beijing was about to change its opening-up policy. Song wrote to newspapers, reassuring the public that the tightening of the visa arrangements was essential before such a major event. He left Hong Kong in 2010 to work at the foreign ministry's department of policy planning in Beijing. Born in 1962, Song began working at the foreign ministry's information department in 1987. He was posted to the Chinese embassy in Auckland, New Zealand from 1992 to 1993 before returning to the ministry. From 1998 to 2001, Song was first secretary at the Chinese embassy in Tokyo. On leaving Japan, he served as director and adviser at the information department until 2005.