Philippines hands China report on hostage standoff

The report recommends administrative charges against at least 12 people.

Manila: The Philippine President expressed hope on Monday that a government recommendation to punish officials over last month`s hostage standoff in which eight
Hong Kong tourists were killed will pacify China and repair strained ties.

The administration of President Benigno Aquino III has submitted a report on its investigation into the August 23 hostage crisis to Chinese Ambassador Liu Jianchao and soon will disclose the findings publicly, presidential spokesman Ricky Carandang said.

The report recommends criminal and administrative charges against at least 12 people, including officials, police officers and journalists, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said.

De Lima gave no details about the proposed charges, but said the recommendations were "based on the evaluation of the actions, the non-action, the missteps, the lapses, the negligence, the incompetence" of the people involved.

A key aspect of the report will be whether police gunfire hit some of the hostages being held on a tour bus during the final, bloody moments of the 11-hour standoff in which the hostage-taker was killed and seven other Hong Kongers wounded.

De Lima said previously that preliminary ballistics reports indicated some hostages may have been hit by police gunfire during the bungled rescue. However, last week she said the report`s findings, based on survivors` accounts, indicate the tourists were killed by the hostage-taker but remain inconclusive.

The standoff, which millions watched on live TV, strained ties with China and Hong Kong, the territory controlled by Beijing. Both issued warnings advising against travel to the Philippines.


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