Aftermath of Deadly Bus Siege in Manila, Philippines


by NTDTelevision

It was a tragic incident in the Philippine capital. Eight tourists from Hong Kong were killed in a bus siege, caught between the cross-fire between police and a gunman. Hong Kong officials are criticizing the way the situation was handled.

Forensic experts inspect the bus at the center of a deadly hostage-taking in Manila.

Eight tourists from Hong Kong were killed in the eleven hour standoff, which ended when police shot dead the gunman, a disgruntled former police officer who wanted his job back.

Eight others were injured, with two in critical condition in hospital.

Relatives of the victims arrived in Manila Tuesday morning, to take the bodies of their loved ones home.

The Philippines' president, Benigno Aquino, expressed his sympathies to the victims' families and ordered an investigation into the situation, which he had hoped would end peacefully.

[Benigno Aquino, Philippines President]:
"We were hoping as it wore, as the stress wore him down, then he'd be more and more amenable to finding an amicable solution or peaceful solution to the problem. Unfortunately that changed. And it changed quite rapidly."

In Hong Kong, a flag flies at half-mast.

Public anger is mounting over the handling of the siege; forcing Philippine authorities to defend their actions, saying the botched rescue was complicated by the fact the gunman had access to TV and radio.

Chief Executive Donald Tsang said he hoped the Philippines government would give him a full account of what happened.

[Donald Tsang, Chief Executive, Hong Kong]:
“This is a major tragedy. It is disappointing that Hong Kong residents trying to make a pleasure trip to Manila ended up with death and casualties. This is very tragic and the way it was handled, particularly the outcome, I find it is disappointing."

Earlier, curious onlookers gathered at the site of the siege, with many worried about the impact on tourism, as Hong Kong advised residents to avoid traveling to the country.