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Survivors, kin of Manila hostage-taking victims demand public apology, compensation

(Xinhua)

15:32, August 22, 2011

MANIAL, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- Survivors and relatives of Manila hostage-taking victims on Monday demanded public apology, compensation and accountability a day before the first anniversary of the tragedy.

Lee Yung Chuen, one of the survivors, told a press conference, "We come back here to demand justice and to tell the government of the Philippines that we are still angry."

She said the survivors and relatives of the victims are still angry as they have not received any public apology and nobody has been made accountable for the botched rescue operation.

She said, "Nobody from the Philippine government approached us.. .After the 11-hour stand-off, we were sent to hospitals but were refused entry. I was very angry."

"We never even got a phone call or a letter apologizing for what happened. That should have been the most basic thing to do. None of us received a word from the government of the Philippines, " she said.

Recalling the unforgettable tragidy, she said,"We waited for 10 to 11 hours for rescue but it came very late. We trusted the government of the Philippines to save foreign lives, but it didn't. "

Tse Chi-kin, brother of the Hong Kong tour guide who died in the incident, said in tears at the press conference, "We are all scared to be here again because the terror of our loved ones began here, but we have to come back to look for justice and to fight for my brother and all other victims."

"Those injured are still suffering from the pain in their body and in their heart. The family of the deceased are still feeling lost," he added.

Survivors and relatives blamed the Philippine government for the not-well organized, not-well coordinated police operation which resulted in the death of eight hostages.

James To of the Hong Kong Legislative Council, who accompanied them to Manila, berated the current administration's inaction on the crisis.

To said they requested a dialogue from President Benigno Aquino III but the president refused to meet them, as per advice from Malacanang, the presidential palace.

To said, "We demand public apology. Provide reasonable compensation for the victims family and proper accountability for those officials found of gross negligence."

To also said that there should be improved measures to safeguard tourists.

On Aug. 23, 2010, Philippine ex-policeman Rolando Mendoza hijacked a bus carrying 21 Hong Kong tourists and four Filipinos in Manila in a bid to be reinstated in the police force. Eight Hong Kong hostages and the hijacker were killed after an 11-hour standoff.

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