Philippine survivor slams authorities

2010-08-23 22:15

Hong Kong - A survivor of the dramatic hostage siege in the Philippine capital which left eight Hong Kong tourists dead on Monday accused the authorities of acting too late and turning a blind eye to their ordeal.

The Hong Kong woman, who identified herself as Mrs Leung, told reporters that her husband was killed as he tried to stop ex-police officer Rolando Mendoza from attacking other passengers on their tour bus in Manila.

Leung, still in shock as she was carried out from the bus following a 12-hour stand-off, demanded to know why Manila police came to their rescue so late.

"It's too late. Why were there no one to help us after so many hours?" she said at the scene of the siege, in comments broadcast on Hong Kong's Cable TV.

"There were so many people on the bus - no one came to our rescue. Why? For money? Sacrificing so many lives for money? We were in fear for so many hours. I find it really cruel."

The tragedy began when a disgruntled ex-police officer Rolando Mendoza, armed with an M-16 assault rifle, hijacked a bus load of Hong Kong visitors in Manila's tourist district in a desperate bid to get his job back.

'I miss him'

Negotiations broke down after nightfall when the gunman began shooting the passengers, and commandos stormed the bus.

Police said Mendoza was shot dead by a sniper after he used his captives as "human shields" in the final moments of the 12-hour stand-off.

Leung said her husband sacrificed himself for others on the bus. "I actually really wanted to die with him. But I think of my children."

"I miss him", she said in tears.

She said she did not know the whereabouts of three children, aged 14, 18, and 21, who were also held hostage on the bus.