Cops think gunman killed tourists

2010-08-27 09:40

Manila - Philippine police said the hijacker of a busload of Hong Kong tourists likely shot dead all eight victims, and that the rescue team did not hit any of the captives in the chaotic end to the standoff.

Police announced the preliminary results of their findings amid growing pressure from furious authorities in Hong Kong and China for the Philippine government to quickly give a full account of Monday's 12-hour ordeal.

"We can say that with a certain degree of certainty," national police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Agrimero Cruz told reporters on Thursday when asked if the bullets that killed the tourists came from the hijacker's weapons.

Cruz said the initial finding was based on witness accounts and testimony from the police involved in storming the bus, as well as the bullets found on the vehicle.

More evidence needed

However he said the police investigation was still ongoing and that final conclusions had not yet been made.

"We need further evidence from the trajectory exam and the ballistics exam," the senior officer said.

"The crime lab is having a hard time comparing the specimen recovered from the bodies because there are mere metal splinters, but we are doing everything we can and in due time we can release the result of these ballistics exams."

Ex-policeman Rolando Mendoza took the busload of Hong Kong tourists hostage in Manila in a desperate bid to have himself cleared of extortion charges and get his job back.

After a long stand-off, a police Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team attempted to storm the bus but its members were held at bay by Mendoza who police said used the hostages as human shields.

The Philippine government has admitted many mistakes were made in handling the hostage crisis, which was aired live around the world on television.

Hong Kong protest

There has been a strong backlash from people in Hong Kong and China, and any evidence showing police bullets had hit the tourists would inflame the situation.

Tens of thousands of people are expected to join a rally in Hong Kong on Sunday to demand justice for the hijack victims, organisers said.

The Philippines had also planned to send a delegation to Beijing and Hong Kong for a fence-mending visit, but the Chinese government said it wanted an explanation for the police actions before allowing any diplomatic courtesies.

"We think the most urgent task is to get as clear an investigation result of the incident as soon as possible," foreign ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu said when asked about the proposed visit.

The Philippine foreign ministry then announced it would not send its delegation - led by Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo and Vice-President Jejomar Binay - until its investigation had been completed.

Amid the cascading fallout to Monday's events, the Philippine military said one if its elite units, with better training, was offered to the police to help end the standoff but it was never used.

Elite unit on standby

"At the start of the hostage situation, we immediately contacted our police counterparts and we offered services coming from our special and elite unit," military spokesperson Brigadier General Jose Mabanta said.

"However, we were told that we just have to be on standby alert so apparently as we all know, it was never used."

Mabanta said the military's Light Reaction Company had been trained by US Special Forces to handle different kinds of crises, including hijackings and hostage situations.

The police SWAT team that eventually went in appeared to be woefully ill-prepared, and President Benigno Aquino admitted the personnel had not received adequate training or equipment.

The SWAT officers took about an hour to get into the bus after initially trying to smash its windows with sledge hammers.

Read more on:    philippines

Read News24’s Comments Policy


Inside News24

/Oscar Pistorius

6 impressive camping tips

Check out these great tips that will make your camping experience so much better!


Where were you when you last felt alive?

Free outdoor yoga classes
Watch: 5 skills to improve your BMX riding
Action camera for all occasions
Tips on how to set your fitness goals

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

VB6 Developer

Table View - Parklands
Navy Blue Suits
R30 000 - R40 000 Per Month

Sales Executive

Cape Town CBD
Mpumalanga Personnel & Training Consultants

Call Center Agents

Cape Town
Ubusha Recruitment (Pty) Ltd

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now! - shop online today

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Deal of the week!

Save R1200 on the Samsung 48” smart full HD LED television now only R8799. Buy now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

Save 20% on Nivea beauty products!

Buy any two Nivea beauty products and save 20%. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


There is a strong social and romantic overtone that plays its way into your day. It may get stronger later in the day when more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.