Hong Kong imposes sanctions on Philippines over 2010 hostage deaths

HONG KONG Wed Jan 29, 2014 6:15am EST

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HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hong Kong will scrap visa-free access for all Philippine diplomatic and official passport holders after Manila failed to issue a formal apology for a deadly hostage-taking in 2010.

The Hong Kong families of eight tourists who were killed in the Manila shooting have demanded an apology and compensation, punishment for officials who dealt with the crisis and enhanced tourist safety, in a row that has soured ties.

Hong Kong and the Philippines have close economic relations, with more than 100,000 Filipino domestic helpers working in the city, but emotions still run high over the killing of the tourists on a bus by a sacked police officer who opened fire amid a bungled rescue attempt.

"The sanctions we just announced are just and justified. We welcome the continuation of dialogue between us and the Philippines to bring the matter to a final conclusion," Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying told a news briefing.

The former British territory of Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997 but retains a high degree of autonomy over its affairs.

The strain in ties between the city and the Philippines comes during a sharp deterioration in relations between Beijing and Manila over overlapping claims of potentially oil- and gas-rich waters in the South China Sea.

Leung said good progress had been made with regard to three of the four demands, including Manila's offer of compensation for one of the survivors, although Hong Kong would not rule out further action to force the Philippines to apologize.

Another possibility is a freeze on domestic helpers, similar to a move by Taiwan this year following the fatal shooting of a Taiwan fisherman by the Philippine coastguard.

The sanction will take effect next Wednesday, when Philippine diplomatic and official passport holders will no longer enjoy 14-day visa-free access.

In November, Leung threatened unspecified economic sanctions against the Philippines unless substantial progress was made within a month on compensation.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino has ruled out apologizing for the violence, which occurred after a policeman who had just been fired seized a coach carrying the tourists.

The rescue bid and shooting was broadcast live on television. The sacked policeman was also killed.

(Additional reporting by Twinnie Siu; Editing by Anne Marie Roantree and Robert Birsel)

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Comments (2)
DonKoh wrote:
One could think a valid response and appropriate method by which to proceed forward on this very tragic 2010 incident, would be in a very straight-forward communication to apologize for the tragically failed rescue attempt by law-enforcement to end the hostage-taking. One is not apologizing on behalf of the sacked, former-officer, who violently took Hong Kong tourists as hostages. It would be a genuine and solemn apology and gesture over the failed attempt by security forces to successfully end the seize and to share the deepest sadness with families of the victims. In addition to apology for failed rescue attempt and deepest regret over tragic loss of life of Hong Kong Tourists, a further proposal could be made for a mutual moment of prayer and remembrance for those who perished. Furthermore, a private charity fund could be established in the Philippines to support college education of relatives of deceased victims. Of course, all assurances should continue to be given for constant evaluation and improved training of law enforcement security response to such violent events. Perhaps even a joint-training exercise by respective elite police commandos, as trust-building opportunity and enhanced techniques refinement, could be proposed? Respects.

Jan 29, 2014 4:27pm EST  --  Report as abuse
FRPSR wrote:
Actions like these become the defining frame upon which cultures will come to depend on as the “Real” China culture .
Those of us who watched in horror at the poorly trained Filipino tactical police force , and watched as the inexcusably media manipulated tactical force inevitably lost control to a media which was allowed to create the deadly confusion . Now we are being treated to its mirror image in the jingoistic Chinese knee jerk circular firing squad , attempting to use a concocted media story to maintain ill will .
We are being traumatized , or entertained , by the horse races , and fights , if it bleeds , it leads mentality which could easily crush the illusion of control the distracted kleptocracy in China acts as if they actually have , as revolution breeds in the West and the Tibetan Himalayas .
After watching a civilized country , Bali , expel the frightening hooligans who were harassing the Filipino president over events occurring in 2010 at a 2013 APEC meeting .
These stunts are appealing for the maintenance required in keeping the manipulations of stoking a fresh insult a day nice and hot , for the popular mood . These impractical but obviously necessary policies distracting from the infinitely serious , more deadly , obvious , and intractible Chinese bullying issues that may produce a French style conflagration with doctrinaire purists on all unyeilding fronts . If the actual understandings become public knowedge , watch out ! Of how utterly common corruptions like the Milk magnates continue to poison the milk with plastic , For Money !
China seems to want it known the disrespect they hold for smaller powers , slaughtering 70 Vietnamese nationals in 1988 to kick off the era of Sino bullying . Lunacy which has seen jingoisms in 2013 China that led to burning Japanese properties to shore up war like sentiments over invented slights , like they do all the time . Sigh …
While never hesitating to fire weapons at orbital satellites , or any of the smaller countries that must consider these real time pathologies , of an apparent giant with an uncontrollable sense of disrespect , that once upon a time , up to today , dominated Chinese pride .
However since the Boxer Rebellion many things have happened , China’s maturation not being among them .

Jan 29, 2014 5:04pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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