Hong Kong’s chief executive confronted Philippine President Benigno Aquino III on Saturday over the mishandling of a Manila bus hostage crisis in which eight Hong Kongers died, seeking punishment for the officials responsible.
Donald Tsang expressed the Hong Kong government’s disappointment that Philippine authorities had decided against immediate criminal prosecutions for officials involved in the August 23 hostage fiasco, which strained ties between Manila and Hong Kong, a territory belonging to Asian powerhouse China.
Mr. Tsang and Mr. Aquino, later joined by Chinese President Hu Jintao, briefly met on the sidelines of a summit of Pacific Rim leaders in the Japanese port city of Yokohama.
Mr. Tsang told Mr. Aquino “that Hong Kong people were shocked and saddened by the incident and were watching closely how the case was being followed up,” according to a statement issued by Mr. Tsang’s office.
“We are anxious to see justice done in the investigation work undertaken by the Philippine authorities and the actions taken against the people involved,” the statement said.
Mr. Aquino’s spokesman Ricky Carandang described the meeting as “productive and another step toward closing this episode.”
The bus hijacking at a Manila park by a dismissed police officer seeking reinstatement lasted 11 tense hours before the gunman opened fire on his hostages. A Manila SWAT team then killed the hostage—taker, but not before eight tourists died.
The events, which were televised live, shocked Hong Kong, and thousands of Chinese tourists cancelled bookings in Philippine resorts.
Mr. Aquino spared seven police and Manila officials from immediate criminal prosecution after reviewing a fact—finding report, which found those officials mishandled the hostage crisis. Mr. Aquino said the officials would instead face administrative actions.
Mr. Tsang said his government “was disappointed by the review results” and wanted to know what other steps the Philippine government would take, adding that he hoped the handling of the case would improve “so as to restore Hong Kong people’s confidence in travelling to the Philippines.”