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Opening remarks by CE at media session on Manila hostage-taking incident (with video)

     Following are the opening remarks by the Chief Executive, Mr C Y Leung, at a media session at the ground floor lobby of the Office of the Chief Executive at Tamar this afternoon(January 29):

     Since my meeting with the President of the Philippines in Bali about three months ago, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government and the Philippine Government have been holding discussions to work out a satisfactory response to the four demands of the victims and the families of the Manila hostage-taking incident, that is apology, compensation, holding responsible officials accountable and adopting measures to enhance the safety of tourists.

     With the efforts of both sides in the past few months, the Philippine side has addressed three of the demands positively. Substantive progress has also been made including turning over a token of solidarity to one of the victims. However, the Philippine side is still unable to meet the demand of the victims and the families for a formal apology. Despite many rounds of discussion, there remains a substantive difference between us on this most important demand.  

     Today, we relayed to the victims and the families the latest response from the Philippine side on the various demands. The victims and the families and the HKSAR Government agreed that the response is unacceptable.

     As I mentioned previously, the HKSAR Government would implement necessary sanctions to bring a satisfactory conclusion to the matter. I now announce that the HKSAR Government will implement the first phase of sanctions. With effect from February 5, 2014, which is next Wednesday, we will suspend the 14-day visa free arrangement applicable to holders of diplomatic or official passports of the Republic of the Philippines. To visit Hong Kong, holders of these passports will have to apply for a visa beforehand in accordance with normal procedures to the Immigration Department of Hong Kong or the Chinese Diplomatic and Consular Missions overseas.

Ends/Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Issued at HKT 18:51


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