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Li wants 'fair, quick' handling of Manila hostage case
Publication Date : 11-10-2013
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang urged authorities in the Philippines on Wednesday to pay greater attention to resolving the case of eight Hong Kong tourists who were killed during a hostage crisis in Manila in 2010.
Li brought up the issue in a brief talk with Philippine President Benigno Aquino when they met in the VIP room during the East Asia Summit in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei.
On 23 Aug 2010, a disgruntled former Filipino policeman hijacked a bus with a 21-member Hong Kong tour group onboard. The hijacking ended that night with eight tourists killed and another seven injured.
The incident drew sharp criticism, particularly from Hong Kong, over the Philippine police's handling of the case.
On Wednesday, the Chinese premier said that although it has been three years since the hostage crisis, the incident continues to reverberate among the Chinese people, especially in Hong Kong. He urged Manila to handle outstanding issues fairly, reasonably and as soon as possible.
Aquino told Li that the Philippine authorities are investigating the case and will deal with the matter properly.
The Philippine government has yet to compensate the Hong Kong victims as their families have requested.
Earlier this month, a group of Hong Kong journalists tried to ask Aquino about the 2010 hostage crisis during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in Bali. Four of the journalists had their media credentials revoked by officials at the Apec forum.
Reporters from Now TV, Radio Television Hong Kong and Commercial Radio asked Aquino at the meeting in Bali if he would meet Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying and apologise to the families of the victims.
"Will you apologise to Hong Kong people for their real tragedy?" asked a female reporter. "Will you give an answer? It has been three years."
Aquino did not reply to their questions, but his spokesman said the journalists had "crossed the line" by aggressively questioning him about the siege. Now TV footage showed an Apec staff member telling the Hong Kong reporters, "You ambushed one of our visitors."
Sham Yee-lan, chairwoman of the Hong Kong Journalists' Association, said Aquino's government has "yet to provide a satisfactory explanation" for why the eight Hong Kong tourists died in the hostage crisis and that the journalists in Bali were doing their jobs.
"The barring of the media for asking critical questions is an outright infringement of press freedom that is totally unacceptable," she said in a statement.
AFP contributed to this story.