Hong Kong survivor criticizes report into Manila tourist deaths
A survivor of a Manila hostage crisis in which eight Hong Kong tourists died last month hit out at the Philippine government's official report into the killings in an interview published Tuesday, dpa reported.
Li Yick-biu, 72, who was freed from a tour bus during an 11-hour standoff with sacked police inspector Rolando Mendoza on August 23, said the report dodged key issues and failed to properly apportion blame.
In an interview with Tuesday's South China Morning Post, Li said the report failed to clarify whether brain-damaged teenager Jason Leung received his injuries from Mendoza or from the bungled attempts by police to enter the bus.
"There are so many doubtful points in the report, especially how Jason was injured," Li said. "Were his injuries caused by the handle of Medoza's rifle or by the police sledgehammer?"
Li, who was among nine hostages freed by Mendoza before the shooting began, told the newspaper that Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim should take responsibility for the incident.
"He was supposed to be the leader in dealing with this crisis," he said, charging, "This tragedy reflects the serious corruption in the Philippines, in the government and police."
An 83-page report into the hostage crisis released Monday evening held 12 officials and journalists accountable for the August 23 deaths, including Lim.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino III said he had asked a legal team to review the report and would make decisions based on the recommendations after he returns next week from a trip to the United States to attend the United Nations General Assembly.
The Hong Kong government issued a cautious statement in response to the report, applauding the Philippine government for being "serious in handling the matter" but calling for further action.
"The report admitted that the causes of death of the eight victims and the causes of injured of the seven others need to be further ascertained," the statement said. "Therefore, final conclusions have yet to be drawn.
"We expect the Philippine authorities to step up their efforts to complete the work as soon as possible."
The statement described the deaths as "a heart-wrenching tragedy" and said, "As shown by the Philippine investigation report, it could have been avoided.