Hong Kong warns against traveling to Philippines after death


Relatives of Victims Shocked, Outraged by Murder and Philippine Police

Hong Kong has expressed anger and shock at the Philippines and canceled all travel to the country after eight Filipino tourists were killed in a bus hijacking incident.

The Chinese government has also called for a thorough investigation into how the tragedy was handled.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino has promised answers.

Questions have been raised as to why police failed to enter the bus before eight tourists were shot dead by a rogue police officer.

The British Foreign Office has now confirmed that two of the survivors are British citizens.

Police commander Leocadio Santiago in the Philippine capital Manila has defended the way his forces handled the hostage-taking incident.

He told local television that it was right to let the siege continue until the bus driver escaped and reported that the hijackers started shooting the hostages.

Police then raided the bus, killing the hijacker, a disgruntled ex-cop named Rolando Mendoza.


Hong Kong issued a “black” travel warning, urging the cancellation of all travel to the Philippines and calling on Hong Kong residents in the Philippines to leave as soon as possible.

Flags were flown at half-mast across Hong Kong. The stock exchange plans to observe a minute’s silence for the victims of the hijacking.

Two planes carrying doctors and counselors have been chartered to repatriate survivors of the incident.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi called his Philippine counterpart, Alberto Romulo, saying China was “shocked” by the murders.

Yang Jiechi said that the Chinese government requires the Philippine government to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident and inform China of the situation as soon as possible.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said that China has sent a working group to Manila to deal with the aftermath.

The Chinese side requires the Philippine side to take practical measures to ensure the safety of the lives and properties of Chinese citizens in the Philippines.

Hong Kong’s chief executive, Donald Tsang, said he was disappointed with the handling of the incident, which had reportedly seen protests outside the Philippine consulate in Hong Kong.

Philippine presidential spokesman Ricky Carandang said he was concerned about the level of public anger in Hong Kong, citing rumors of apparent reprisals against Filipinos.

“We understand the anger and frustration of the people of Hong Kong, but at the same time, we don’t think it’s right to make ordinary citizens who have nothing to do with this incident pay the price,” he said.

In a late-night news conference, Philippine President Benigno Aquino promised a “thorough investigation” into the incident.

Survivors and experts have criticized police for being indecisive and slow in handling the crisis.

In the last hour of the siege, police tried unsuccessfully to board the bus and were driven back by gunfire from inside.

After about an hour, they finally boarded the bus. By then, the gunman had been killed, as were eight of the 15 passengers on board.

“We want a thorough investigation into what happened,” Aquino said at a news conference.

He defended police actions at the scene, saying the gunman showed no signs of wanting to kill the hostages.

But when asked if he was completely satisfied with the police, he said: “How can you be satisfied if someone is killed?”

A survivor who identified herself as Ms. Liang told reporters: “Why is there still no one to help us after so many hours?”

Her husband was killed when he tried to stop the gunman from shooting the other passengers, she said.

“I miss him. I really want to die with him. But I think about my children,” she said.

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