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Government's response to Coroner's findings on Manila hostage incident

     In response to the findings of the Coroner's Court today (March 23) on the causes of death of the victims of the Manila hostage incident, a Government spokesman said as follows:
     The death inquest into the Manila hostage incident by the Coroner's Court is open, fair and professional. The Government respects its findings.

     In the course of the inquest, the survivors, the family members and colleagues of the victims had to recall their painful memories on the incident to assist in ascertaining the facts of the incident. Experts from different fields also assisted the court in reconstructing the case by providing their analysis in a professional manner based on the available information.  The Government would like to express its gratitude to all of them for their assistance.

     During the hearing, a total of ten Philippine witnesses gave evidence through videolink. The Government and the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs have used their best endeavours to urge, through various channels, the Philippine authorities to take necessary actions to facilitate the taking of evidence from witnesses to assist the Coroner's inquest into the incident. We have sought assistance direct from the Philippine authorities as well as through the Consulate General of the Philippines in Hong Kong. We have also closely liaised with the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to relay our requests to the Philippine authorities through the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. However, most of the key witnesses did not agree to testify before the Court. This has fallen much short of our expectation and we are indeed very disappointed.

     The Hospital Authority has been providing the best treatment to the injured victims free of charge, and the Social Welfare Department has been offering the victims and their families psychological and other forms of support. The Government has expressed to them that it would continue to render them assistance as far as it is able to.

Ends/Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Issued at HKT 20:57


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