Hostage crisis ends in bloodshed


MANILA – A sightseeing tour of tourists from Hong Kong, mostly children, turned into a nightmare when a despondent former policeman barged into the bus they were riding and held them hostage right at the tourist belt area in downtown Manila Monday, radio reports said.

The drama ended 12 hours later when police stormed the bus, freeing the last 15 hostages.  Hong Kong's government reports the number of dead civilians at eight, with two critically wounded. 

The total number of tourists originally on the bus is not clear, but reports indicate that up to nine tourists were released during the day-long standoff.  

Hostage taker, former Senior Police Inspector Rolando Mendoza, was also killed by a gunshot wound to the head by a police sniper, according to the Associated Press.

Mendoza boarded the bus wearing his police uniform, and quickly initiated the hostage scenario.  He posted a hand written note on the bus’ glass door that read: “Big deal will start after 3 p.m. today.”

Mendoza had seized the bus full of Chinese tourists to dramatize his demand for reinstatement to the police force. Mendoza was dismissed early this year due to extortion.

According to media reports, police have also detained Mendoza's brother on suspicion that he conspired with Mendoza in the hostage taking and might have instigated the shootings.

Media Project staff writer Richard Potts contributed to this report.

Asia, ConflictBen Cal