Sunday 23 September 2012

Manila Hostage Crisis Campaigners Still Seeking Justice

Survivors and relatives of the victims of the Manila hostage crisis march to the Philippine consulate in Admiralty last month to demand justice. Pic Sam Tsang

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We'll take our fight for justice to the president (SCMP; paywall)
Hostage crisis campaigners consider return to Philippines to put case to Aquino after 'disappointing' talks at consulate two years after shootings
Simpson Cheung
Aug 24, 2012    

Survivors and relatives of victims of the Manila hostage crisis are considering visiting the Philippines again to seek a meeting with President Benigno Aquino after "disappointing" talks with the country's consul general.

Yesterday marked the second anniversary of the bus siege, in which seven Hong Kong tourists and their guide were shot dead by sacked policeman Rolando Mendoza, who was later killed in a bungled rescue operation.

The families and survivors are demanding a government apology, compensation and that Philippine officials be held to account over their handling of the crisis.

A delegation including the brothers of slain tour guide Masa Tse Ting-chunn, Tse Chi-kin and Tse Chi-hang, and survivors Lee Ying-chuen, Yik Siu-ling - whose lower jaw was shattered by a bullet - and Joe Chan Kwok-chu, met Philippine consul general Noel Servigon and consul Val Simon Roque.

But the talks yielded only a promise to convey the delegation's message to the government, Tse Chi-hang said after the meeting.

"We do not rule out flying to Manila to meet the officials. Two years is too long for survivors and it is irresponsible for the Philippines government to leave us rushing around to follow up the incident," he said. The group also submitted a petition and observed a minute's silence.

Members of the group visited Manila twice last year and met Secretary for Justice Leila De Lima, who promised to keep them updated, but they have not heard from her since.

Lee said that depending on developments in the next two months, they might travel to the Philippines again to negotiate with De Lima, government officials and, if possible, President Aquino, to press their case.

She said her mother Lo Kam-fun, who also survived the hostage crisis, was still afraid to talk about the shootings. A source said Jason Leung Song-xue, who suffered brain damage and whose father and two younger sisters were killed, was receiving five days of physiotherapy a week and was struggling hard to learn to walk and speak again.

Chan said hand injuries he received in the siege were still far from fully recovered.

For Tracey Wong Chuek-yiu, who lost both parents in the bloodbath, the ordeal has inspired her to be a journalist and she will enter Shue Yan University to study journalism. Her younger brother Jason Wong Ching-yat, released by the gunman before the shootings, starts Form Three next month.

Li Yick-biu and his wife Tsui Fung-kwan, also released early by Mendoza, are now in London for Li to receive treatment for diabetes.

In a statement released after the meeting, the consul general said lessons learned from the tragedy were being taken seriously by the Philippine government. A new integrated land-sea-air crisis action force had been established to protect VIPs and night courts had been opened to help foreign tourists.

The group will meet Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok and Chief Executive's Office director Edward Yau Tang-wah today.

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