Friday, August 27, 2010

Hong Kong chief says Aquino has apologized

Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang said President Benigno Aquino III has personally apologized to him over the Manila hostage-taking incident that claimed the lives of 8 Hong Kong tourists.

“President Aquino rang me up and he apologized for the event. He felt particularly sorrowful for what had happened and he also apologized that he could not return my call because he was totally engaged in supervising the operation," he said in a video address on Friday.

Tsang said that he accepted Aquino’s apology but vowed to remain vigilant over the on-going investigation into the tragedy.

“We have formally asked the Philippines government to do a thorough investigation of what happened and compile a report and make a full account of it and let the Hong Kong people know what actually transpired," he said.

Tsang also urged for calm and sobriety in Hong Kong amid the racial tensions caused by the incident.

“This is a moment that we all have to act sensibly and to behave in a civil manner,” he stressed. “I understand the strong feelings and sentiments within a community, but I also know for sure that the nearly 200,000 Filipino nationals who are working in Hong Kong share our sorrow and share our frustration and this is a time we should look for mutual support within a community and overcome this tragedy."

His Facebook page aired a similar call.


Tsang said the Hong Kong government will hold autopsies on the remains of the hostage victims.

“The coroner has already decided that we have to carry out autopsies. This will be done or is being done, and we will finish it very quickly,” he said. “The investigation by the Hong Kong government is almost inevitable. We have to present our case, the result of the investigation, to the coroner. It will be the decision of the coroner whether or not to conduct an inquest.“

He added that the former Crown colony has already sent its police officers to Manila to coordinate with their Philippine counterparts.

“We (will) present to them… all of the evidence we have already gathered,” he said. “We hope that through this channel we are able to produce, at the end of the day, by the Philippine government, a comprehensive, thorough, and accurate report of what has happened there.”

Anger at RP government, not at Filipinos

Meanwhile, some Hong Kong residents staged a candlelight vigil at the city’s Charter Garden Friday night.

A banner they carried read: “HK IN TEARS! WE ARE ANGRY!”

One Hong Kong local said they are angry at the Philippine government and not at Filipinos. "We will not discriminate Filipino workers in HK!"

DFA: 'Twas inexcusable

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) issued a press statement on Friday calling the Monday hostage incident “inexcusable.”

“The DFA reiterates its condemnation of the violence perpetuated by Rolando Mendoza,” the DFA said.

Mendoza, a disgruntled former police officer, held Hong Kong tourists hostage on-board a bus parked at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila and demanded his job back.

“Nothing could ever justify the senseless act of holding hostage and threatening and carrying out physical violence on innocent civilians, including children,” the DFA said.

The 12-hour standoff resulted in the death of 8 tourists and the hostage-taker.

“The Department of Foreign Affairs shares the outrage and indignation of the Filipino nation and all peace-loving peoples over this criminal act,” it said.

“The Philippine government continues to cooperate with the governments of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the People's Republic of China to bring justice to the victims and their families,” the DFA said. “We believe that the strong and long-standing ties of friendship and cooperation between the governments and peoples of the Philippines and China and Hong Kong shall overcome this sad episode.”

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