Disgruntled former police officer takes tourist bus hostage

By Girlie Linao and Hazel Parry

Manila (dpa) – A sacked police officer on Monday seized a tourist

bus in the Philippines with 22 Chinese nationals from Hong Kong and

three Filipinos aboard, police said.

   Six of the Chinese hostages, including three children, were freed

unharmed one hour later after negotiations, said Chief Superintendent

Rodolfo Magtibay, the Manila City police chief.

   The suspect, armed with an M16 assault rifle, hitched a ride with

the bus and announced the hostage-taking as the tourists prepared to

take a tour at the seaside Luneta Park, Magtibay said.

   Police cordoned off the tourist bus, which was parked in front of

a grandstand in Luneta Park. Some of the hostages were seen peeking

through window curtains that had been drawn.

   The suspect, identified as police officer Rolando Del Rosario

Mendoza, was dismissed from service in January for extortion and


   “The police officer insists he has done nothing wrong and wants

authorities to look at his appeal,” Magtibay said.

   Police initially identified the hostages as South Korean tourists

but later clarified that they were from Hong Kong.

   Joseph Tung, executive director of the Hong Kong Travel Industry

Council, told Hong Kong’s government-run radio station RTHK that the

hostage-taking involved a 20-member tour group from Hong Kong.

   The holidaymakers were travelling on a tour organized by the

city’s Hong Thai Travel Services and ranged in age from 4 to 72, he


   The group arrived in Manila Friday and was due to return to Hong

Kong Monday, Tung said.

   “We understand all the tour group members are safe, but obviously,

we would very much like them to be released as soon as possible,” he


   Hong Thai Travel Services general manager Susanna Lau said the

group comprised three children and 17 adults. They were travelling

with a Hong Kong travel guide, she said.