The Hong Kong families of eight tourists who were killed in the
Manila shooting have demanded an apology and compensation,
punishment for officials who dealt with the crisis and enhanced
tourist safety, in a row that has soured ties.
Hong Kong and the Philippines have close economic relations, with
more than 100,000 Filipino domestic helpers working in the city, but
emotions still run high over the killing of the tourists on a bus by
a sacked police officer who opened fire amid a bungled rescue
"The sanctions we just announced are just and justified. We welcome
the continuation of dialogue between us and the Philippines to bring
the matter to a final conclusion," Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying
told a news briefing.
The former British territory of Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule
in 1997 but retains a high degree of autonomy over its affairs.
The strain in ties between the city and the Philippines comes during
a sharp deterioration in relations between Beijing and Manila over
overlapping claims of potentially oil- and gas-rich waters in the
South China Sea.
Leung said good progress had been made with regard to three of the
four demands, including Manila's offer of compensation for one of
the survivors, although Hong Kong would not rule out further action
to force the Philippines to apologize.
Another possibility is a freeze on domestic helpers, similar to a
move by Taiwan this year following the fatal shooting of a Taiwan
fisherman by the Philippine coastguard.
The sanction will take effect next Wednesday, when Philippine
diplomatic and official passport holders will no longer enjoy 14-day
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In November, Leung threatened unspecified economic sanctions against
the Philippines unless substantial progress was made within a month
Philippine President Benigno Aquino has ruled out apologizing for
the violence, which occurred after a policeman who had just been
fired seized a coach carrying the tourists.
The rescue bid and shooting was broadcast live on television. The
sacked policeman was also killed.
(Additional reporting by Twinnie Siu; editing by Anne Marie Roantree
and Robert Birsel)
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