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LCQ6: Manila hostage-taking incident

     Following is a reply by the Secretary for Security, Mr Lai Tung-kwok, to a question by the Hon James To Kun-sun in the Legislative Council today (July 10):


     A Hong Kong tour group was taken hostage in Manila, the Philippines, on August 23, 2010 (the hostage-taking incident). In the end, eight Hong Kong people were shot dead and several others were injured with some of them still receiving follow-up treatment such as operations to date.  On September 1, 2011, the then Premier of the State Council said that he hoped that "the Philippine Government will accord great importance to the demands made by the Hong Kong SAR Government as well as the people of Hong Kong, and handle the issues arising from the incident properly". However, nearly three years have lapsed since the hostage-taking incident but the Philippine Government has yet to make any apologies and compensation to the victims and their family members.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of the follow-up actions taken by the Central Government and the SAR Government since the occurrence of the hostage-taking incident with a view to urging the Philippine Government to respond to the demands of the Hong Kong people, the victims and their family members, so as to enable Hong Kong people to "share the dignity and glory of being Chinese", together with a list of the details, including the dates and contents, of such follow-up actions?



     The HKSAR Government is highly concerned that some Hong Kong residents lost their lives or were injured in the Manila hostage-taking incident. We also understand the grief of Hong Kong people over the incident. Since the incident, apart from providing necessary assistance to the victims and their families, including medical treatment for the injured through the Hospital Authority as well as psychological and living support to the concerned tour group members and their families through the Social Welfare Department, we have also been closely liaising with the Central People's Government (CPG) and the local Consulate General of the Philippines to urge the Philippine Government to seriously follow up the four requests of Hong Kong people as well as the victims and their families, including formal apology, compensation, holding officials accountable for the mishandling of the incident and devising and implementing effective measures to ensure the safety of tourists.

     As mentioned in the question, during the Philippine President's visit to the Mainland China in September 2011, the then Premier Wen Jiabao urged the Philippine Government to attach importance to the requests of the Government and people of the HKSAR and properly handle the aftermath of the incident. In addition, after receiving a letter addressed to the then President Hu Jintao from some victims and their family members and tens of thousands of petition signatures collected from the community, the CPG urged the Philippine Government to address the requests of the victims and families and properly handle the aftermath of the incident through proper channels including the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines. Upon the request of the HKSAR Government, the CPG again urged the Philippine Government to properly handle the four requests at the 5th Sino-Philippine consular meeting in June 2013.

     Furthermore, the HKSAR Government has requested the Philippine side to proactively follow up the aforementioned demands on various occasions, including the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation meeting held in September last year, during which the Financial Secretary met with the President and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines and reiterated the four requests of the victims and their family members, as well as their strong feelings, and urged the Philippine Government to take further measures. The Minister of Foreign Affairs undertook to ask the Consul General in Hong Kong to meet and brief the victims and their families on the follow-up work. In addition, the Security Bureau has assigned a designated officer to communicate with representatives of the victims' families with a view to providing practical assistance according to their needs.  Since 2012, the HKSAR Government has been in contact with the local Consulate General of the Philippines for 21 times to follow up the four requests.

     We understand that the public is still dissatisfied with the Philippine Government for their refusal to admit its responsibility in the Manila hostage-taking incident. The HKSAR Government will do its utmost to continue to follow up the incident.

Ends/Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Issued at HKT 16:13


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