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HK security chief confirms 15 tourists still held by gunman in Manila

08-23-2010 16:04 BJT

HONG KONG, Aug. 23 (Xinhua) -- Secretary for Security Bureau of the Hong Kong government, Ambrose Lee, confirmed on Monday that 15 tourists from Hong Kong were still held hostage by a gunman in the Philippine capital Manila. 

Secretary for Security Bureau of the Hong Kong government Ambrose Lee (L) speaks at a press conference in Hong Kong, south China, Aug. 23, 2010. Ambrose Lee confirmed on Monday that 15 tourists from Hong Kong were still held hostage by a gunman in the Philippine capital Manila. Lee said the Hong Kong government has set up a task force for the abduction incident, which was led by Lee himself. It has asked the Philippine government to put safety of the abducted Hong Kong residents as top priority.(Xinhua/Li Qiuchan) 
Secretary for Security Bureau of the Hong Kong government Ambrose Lee (L) speaks 
at a press conference in Hong Kong, south China, Aug. 23, 2010. Ambrose Lee 
confirmed on Monday that 15 tourists from Hong Kong were still held hostage by a 
gunman in the Philippine capital Manila. Lee said the Hong Kong government has set 
up a task force for the abduction incident, which was led by Lee himself. It has 
asked the Philippine government to put safety of the abducted Hong Kong residents 
as top priority.(Xinhua/Li Qiuchan)

He said five tourists, including three children and two women, and a local guide were released by the gunman.

Lee said the Hong Kong government has set up a task force for the abduction incident, which was led by Lee himself. It has asked the Philippine government to put safety of the abducted Hong Kong residents as top priority.

Lee also said the Department of Immigration of the Hong Kong government has sent two persons to Manila to handle the incident.

Apart from the 15 tourists, the gunman also held the tour guide, one bus driver and two cameramen who are reportedly negotiating with the hijacker.

A total of 20 tourists and one guide from Hong Kong were onboard the bus when they were taken hostage by a dismissed Filipino policeman.

Lau Mei-sze, manager of Hong Thai travel agency which had organized the tour, said the 21 Hong Kongers had planned to come back to Hong Kong on Monday evening after a 4-day trip to the Philippines.

Joseph Tung, the executive director of Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong (TIC), said the passengers were aged between 4 and 72. He said the TIC was in close contacts with the Security Bureau of the Hong Kong government.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) identified the hijacker as former Police Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza who was dismissed from service for extortion and forcing a chef to swallow "shabu".

Mendoza was carrying an M-16 rifle when he hijacked the tourist bus Monday morning. The abduction occurred near Rizal Park, a major tourist site in Manila.

Two police officers, Superintendent Orlando Yebra Jr. and Chief Inspector Romeo Salvador, have held negotiations with Mendoza.

Mendoza is demanding authorities to clear his name and be reinstated to the service.

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