Manila urged to respond to hostage victims' requests

Updated: 2013-11-08 19:15


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HONG KONG - Secretary for Security of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government TK Lai urged the Philippines to respond to the Manila hostage tragedy victims' and bereaved families' four requests within the time the Hong Kong government specified, to resolve the incident, media reported Friday.

Lai spoke to reporters late night Thursday after attending a Legislative Council meeting. Lai said Hong Kong and Philippine governments both allow people from the other place to visit visa-free for 14 days under an administrative arrangement. Some lawmakers are calling for a visa abolition agreement.

The number of Filipinos visiting Hong Kong greatly outnumbers that of Hong Kong residents visiting the Philippines, he said, adding that is partly because the Security Bureau had issued a Black Outbound Travel Alert for the Philippines since the incident.

Lai also said Hong Kong may have some financial losses if it ceases the visa-free arrangement for Filipinos to visit Hong Kong.

"But this is comparatively much less when we compare it with the number of Hong Kong people going to the Philippines. And we also expect that if this measure is going to be implemented, the number of visitors from the Philippines will drop substantially."

Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung said Tuesday that the city government would take necessary actions, unless substantial progress is made within one month by the Philippine side.

Eight Hong Kong tourists died after a dismissed policeman took a busload of tourists hostage on August 23, 2010.

Following the hostage crisis, Hong Kong demanded an apology from the Philippine government, compensation for the families of the victims, punishment of the officials responsible, and improvement for tourist safety.

The Philippine president has consistently refused to make an open apology, saying it is against the Philippines' culture to apologize for any mistake by individuals.