Hong Kong police wrap up probe into Manila tourist bus hijacking


AFP

HONG KONG–Hong Kong police said they have concluded a probe into the Manila bus hijacking fiasco that left eight Hong Kong tourists dead in August, and a local judge will soon decide whether to hold an inquest. The police, who traveled to Manila to conduct the investigation, submitted their report Friday to Hong Kong’s coroner who ordered the investigation after the fatal incident.

“After considering the report, the coroner will decide whether or not to conduct a death inquest,” the police said in a statement posted on their website late Friday, adding that inquests are open to the public. The police also said the coroner will decide whether to release their report, in a decision that will consider the “overall interests of justice.” Hong Kong police sent four delegations to Manila to gather evidence, including from the coach where the victims died and to conduct ballistic tests and interviews with eye-witnesses. Hong Kong last month said it was disappointed at Manila’s decision to spare officials involved in the hostage-taking from tough punishments, saying the victims’ families would find the perceived leniency hard to accept. The hostage-taking on Aug. 23 saw a sacked police officer seize a busload of Hong Kong tourists in Manila in a desperate bid to win his job back and be cleared of extortion charges. Eight of the tourists and the hostage taker were killed and seven tourists wounded when police commandos launched a bungled rescue attempt in a drama played out live on television.

The incident strained ties between Hong Kong and the Philippines and heaped pressure on the new administration of Philippine President Benigno Aquino, who was widely criticized for his handling of the crisis.