Government receives update on matters arising from the Manila hostage incident (with photos)

     The Chief Executive, Mr Donald Tsang, today (December 16) received an update by the Philippine Secretary of Tourism, Mr Alberto A. Lim, on matters arising from the Manila hostage incident.

     At the meeting with the Chief Executive, Mr Lim deeply regretted the incident. He expressed the condolences from the Philippine President and sympathy of the people of the Philippines to the victims and their families and the people of Hong Kong.

     The Chief Executive said, "I am pleased to learn that the Philippine authorities stand ready to co-operate with the Coroner in the death inquest in Hong Kong. This will surely help the Coroner in determining the causes of death of those who lost their lives in the August 23 tragedy."

     Mr Lim assured the Chief Executive that the Philippine Government was determined to rigorously pursue the proceedings against the officials held responsible for the incident. Noting the actions taken, Mr Tsang said, "It is the wish of Hong Kong people that justice be done and that Manila follow through the required actions rigorously."

     Mr Lim also informed the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government of the series of measures launched recently to provide a safe and secure environment for tourists in the Philippines. These include:

(a) A special team of 185 police officers has been strategically deployed to patrol tourist attractions both in and outside Manila. More officers will be trained for this purpose;

(b) Seminars have been arranged to enhance the awareness and crime prevention techniques of tour guides and tourist drivers; and

(c) A Special Task Force has been set up to ensure the safety of motorists and bus passengers, including foreign tourists, who travel outside Manila.  

     The Philippine authorities will also implement institutional reforms in law enforcement agencies and upgrade their crisis management capacity, upon receipt of the recommendations of the Incident Investigation and Review Committee as set out in its second report.   

     "These measures should help restore the confidence of tourists travelling in the country," Mr Tsang said.

     The delegation led by Mr Lim also met the Secretary for Security, Mr Ambrose S K Lee, at a separate meeting today.

     Mr Lee said, "We hope to see the early implementation of the measures to help ensure the safety of tourists. We will listen to the views of the community and consider adjusting the travel alert as appropriate."

     Mr Lee apprised Mr Lim of the decision of the Coroner to hold a death inquest in Hong Kong on the Manila incident.

     "We are pleased to note the assurances expressed by the Secretary of the Philippine government's continued co-operation in the Coroner's death inquest in Hong Kong," Mr Lee said.  

Ends/Thursday, December 16, 2010
Issued at HKT 13:31