26 August 2010

The Complete Timeline for the Manila Philippine Bus Hijack (Hong Kong tourists)

Eight Hong Kong tourists killed in Philippine bus hijacking

24th August 2010 Manila, Philippine Bus hijack - Former senior inspector Rolando Mendoza, armed with M-16 assault rifle, seizes a tourist bus carrying more than 20 tourists, in desperate bid to be reinstated. No shooting was reported. The disgruntled ex-policeman was dismissed last year due to his alleged involvement in drug-related crimes and extortion.

Two negotiators approaches the Mendoza after a handwritten note stating his list of demands was pasted on the bus' glass door.

Thoroughout the course of the afternoon, the hijacker released a total of 9 hostages. They comprised of seven tourists including three children and an elderly man, as well as two Filipinos.

Philippine authorities said 22 tourists from Hong Kong were originally on the bus, including children, as well as the local driver and two other Filipinos.

Philippine authorities said 22 tourists from Hong Kong were originally on the bus, including children, as well as the local driver and two other Filipinos.

Negotiations broke down after nightfall when the gunman began shooting and commandos were forced to storm the bus, firing dozens of bullets of their own into the vehicle.

"I shot two Chinese. I will finish them all if they do not stop," Mendoza told a local radio station as Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team, armed with rifles and shields, arrives at the scene after the gunman fired the first shots.

The Filipino bus driver jumped out of a window and escaped moments before police stormed the vehicle, with his escape and the rest of the crisis broadcast live on television.

The SWAT team smashed the windows with a sledgehammer and fired at it., with Mendoza returning fire.

Police threw tear gas into the bus, and proceeded to enter the bus through the back door to rescue as many hostages they can.

During the final moments of the 12-hour standoff, the hijacker's body is seen slumped across the glass door after the assault. Police said a sniper shot Mendoza dead after he used his captives as "human shields".

The rescue team wheeled away the body of the dead hostage-taker Rolando Mendoza.

Excluding the dead gunman, a total of 8 Hong Kong tourists died, with seven others injured.

A wounded hostage is loaded into an ambulance, bringing to close a dramatic 12-hour standoff.

picture by AP photo, article taken from msn

Manila Bus hijacker fired 59 shots

MANILA - THE hijacker of a bus in the Philippines fired dozens of bullets from an assault rifle and two pistols while using his captives as shields during the siege's final moments, police said on Wednesday.

Ex-policemen Rolando Mendoza herded his terrified hostages to the rear of the bus while keeping commandos at bay with gunfire, according to results of a police inquiry into Monday's siege in which eight Hong Kong tourists died.

The chaotic standoff finally ended when police shot him eight times.

'Mendoza suffered eight gunshot wounds, (including) two on the neck and one on the head that were fatal,' national police spokesman Senior Superintendent Agrimero Cruz told reporters as he released preliminary results of the inquiry.

The highly agitated Mendoza managed to slow the commandos' assault with his tactics for about an hour, but an officer involved in the inquiry said the hijacker panicked when tear gas was finally fired into the vehicle.

He ran towards the front of the bus to escape the tear gas, giving snipers a clear shot, said the officer, who did not want to be named. Cruz said forensics experts recovered 59 empty shells believed to be from Mendoza's M-16 rifle, as well as 31 from two other small firearms he was carrying. -- AFP

Aug 25, 2010
Gunman was 'calm, focused'

MANILA - HE WAS a man on a crusade, said the escaped bus driver of the fateful hostage bus which led to the loss of eight lives on Monday.

Mr Alberto Lubang, 38, driver of the Hong Thai Travel bus, said in a sworn statement to police investigators that the gunman, disgruntledex-police Rolando Mendoza, was calm and focused on one goal - proving his innocence.

Things only took a turn for the worst when Mendoza saw his brother - who was mediating with him - being handcuffed and taken away by police.

The bus driver recounted Mendoza's civilised and calm behaviour in the first few hours. He said Mendoza told him: 'Don't worry, nothing will happen if what I want is followed. That's a promise.'
The Philippine Inquirer reported that Mendoza asked Mr Lubang if the tourists were hungry and directed him to call the travel agency to bring food for them.

'He told us, even the foreigners, that he was dismissed because of a wrong decision and he had nothing to do with what happened. It was his men who were responsible.' Said Mr Lubang in Tagalog.
The bus driver said that he was surprised when Mendoza started shooting at the handcuffed tour guide on the aisle.

Mr Lubang managed to break free of his handcuffs with the help a nail cutter and escape through the window on the driver's side.

'There was no tension. He was calm. He did not hurt any of the passengers at that time and he occasionally joked, but he was serious in his goal,' recounted Mr Lubang.

Philippines probes blame for botched hijack bus rescue

Aug 25 (Reuters) - Commanders of a botched rescue of a hijacked Philippines tourist bus have been ordered on leave and weapons from the raid tested to determine responsibility for the deaths of eight hostages, police said on Wednesday.

Philippine National Police spokesman Agrimero Cruz told a news briefing that Chief Superintendent Rodolofo Magtibay, the head of police in the area of the capital where the bloody siege took place, had also offered to stand aside.

The kidnapper, a disgruntled ex-policeman, was shot dead by police and eight of the hostages also killed -- either by the gunman or in the rescue -- prompting anger in China and Hong Kong over the chaotic raid and demands for a thorough investigation.

The affair is seen as an early blow for President Benigno Aquino, who swept to power this year partly on hopes he could take on corruption, boost the economy and restore the country's reputation.

On Tuesday, the national police said there had been "defects" including poor handling of the negotiations, and that the assault team was inadequately trained, equipped and led.

Magtibay was the ground commander and had taken responsibility for the incident, Cruz said, while four special weapons and tactics (SWAT) team leaders had been ordered on leave pending an investigation.

Wednesday was declared a day of mourning in the Philippines while the survivors, relatives of the victims, and the victims' bodies were expected to return to Hong Kong.

Police said on Wednesday that three of the dead were Canadian citizens. Thousands of Hong Kong residents sought alternate nationality before the former British territory was returned to China's control in 1997. (Reporting by Manny Mogato and Rosemarie Francisco; Editing by John Mair)

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