The Manila hostage crisis occurred when a dismissed Philippine National Police officer took over a tour bus in Rizal Park, Manila, Philippines on August 23, 2010.
Disgruntled former senior inspector (equivalent military rank: captain) Rolando Mendoza, from the Manila Police District (MPD) hijacked a tour bus carrying 25 tourists from Hong Kong in an attempt to get his job back. He said that he was summarily dismissed without the opportunity to properly defend himself, and that all he wanted was a fair hearing.
As a result of the ten-hour siege, the ensuing shoot-out, and a botched rescue attempt by MPD watched by millions on live television news, eight of the hostages and Mendoza died and nine other people were injured. The Hong Kong Government then immediately issued a top-level ‘black’ travel alert for the Philippines. The assault on the tour bus to rescue the hostages was widely regarded by pundits at home and abroad as ‘bungled’ and ‘incompetent’; the Philippine government also admitted that errors had been made and promised a thorough investigation, which they would report to the Chinese government.
Preliminary accounts suggest that as the Hong Thai Travel Services tour bus was taking on the 25 Hong Kong tourists in front of Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park, the gunman, Rolando Mendoza, attempted to follow the tourists onto the tour bus requesting a free ride. When his request was declined by the driver, Mendoza brandished a weapon, handcuffed the driver to the steering wheel and hijacked the bus. However, a number of witnesses saw a man answering Mendoza’s description boarding the bus at Fort Santiago, police were looking for accomplices. Driver Alberto Lubang also said Mendoza boarded there, and subsequently announced his true intention at Rizal Park.
Mendoza, armed with a handgun and an M16 rifle, demanded to be reinstated to his previous post with benefits, saying he was framed. Manila mayor Alfredo Lim said he would grant Mendoza’s wish to be reinstated if he could prove himself. There were 21 Hong Kong holidaymakers, a bus driver, a Filipino tour guide, and Masa Tse, the trip’s Hong Kong tour guide, aboard the bus. Tse immediately alerted his employing agency in Hong Kong to the situation by telephone shortly after 10:30 am. He spoke to the assistant customer services manager for two minutes, calmly informing her that his group was being held hostage.
Almost an hour later, six Hong Kong tourists were freed: an elderly woman who complained of stomach pains was the first to be released from the bus; her husband, a diabetic, was released later. Then, a middle-aged woman and her two children—a boy aged 10 and a girl aged 5—were freed. As she left, she asked to have a third child (a 12-year-old boy) released as well, lying to Mendoza that the boy was a relative. Two Filipino photographers boarded the bus, as volunteer hostages in exchange for the aforementioned releases. The released hostages were taken to a police precinct in Rizal Park.
By noon, four additional hostages (including the Filipino tour guide and the two photographers who volunteered to be taken hostage) were released by Mendoza, bringing the total to ten. TV5 news anchor Erwin Tulfo remained in permanent contact with Mendoza, with Superintendent Orlando Yebra and Chief Inspector Romeo Salvador leading negotiations. Seventeen people remained on the bus. By this time, ABS-CBN, GMA, TV5 and government-owned NBN were providing live coverage in Manila; TVB and Cable TV also provided live coverage in Hong Kong from noon onwards. Using borrowed satellite links from ABS-CBN, CNN, Channel News Asia, and Reuters took the coverage across the world.
The Office of the Ombudsman disallowed Mendoza’s request to be reinstated in the police, although they assured him that his case would be reviewed. Manila Vice-Mayor Isko Moreno delivered the letter from the Ombudsman to the hostage scene after sundown. However, Mendoza regarded the Ombudsman’s decision as “garbage”, stating the text did not answer his demands. Mayor Lim said on local radio that authorities had agreed to reinstate Mendoza to bring an end to the crisis, but had not been able to deliver the message due to bad traffic.
When the Manila Police District (MPD) SWAT team arrived, Mendoza declared on a radio interview on DZXL that he would kill the passengers and wanted the SWAT team to leave the area. His brother Gregorio Mendoza, ranked senior police officer-2 (SPO2, equivalent military rank: corporal), walked out after negotiating with his brother. He urged him to surrender peacefully and told his brother that “Nothing will happen here.” Gregorio Mendoza was later arrested, the MPD stating that he was not asked to assist in the negotiations, and that he had breached the exclusion zone while carrying a gun. President Aquino later said that the gunman’s brother contributed to the deterioration in the situation by fanning hatred against the negotiators.
After Mendoza witnessed the arrest of his brother via the TV and radio on board the bus which was covered live by the media, he became agitated. Mendoza was thought to have fired warning shots as he saw his brother and son being hauled away by the police. He demanded during a radio interview that the police release his brother, or else he would start executing hostages. Mendoza later claimed on live radio just before a police assault began that he had indeed shot two hostages.
The first shots fired from within the bus were heard at about 7:21 pm. At around the same time it was reported that snipers had shot the tires immobilizing the bus after it had attempted to move. The bus driver escaped at around 7:30 pm and told the police that all hostages on the tour bus were killed. He later admitted that his assumption was based on witnessing Mendoza shoot three hostages and then the firing of other shots in the bus.
Mendoza was aggravated by news that his brother and his wife were arrested and went mad. Masa Tse, the tour leader whom Mendoza handcuffed to a handrail earlier, was shot in the head by Mendoza and died. According to survivor Joe Chan, Mendoza then went on to begin shooting the other hostages; five male hostages immediately rushed up to Mendoza in a dreadnought, self-sacrificial attempt to stop him. However, Mendoza stepped back and shot the rebelling men before they could reach him. It was during this short conflict that Alberto Lubang the driver escaped from the coach.
Mendoza resumed shooting the hostages one by one, “all aimed at the head”, “killing them one by one”. During this round of shootings, Ken Leung shielded his wife Amy with his body and died from the gunshot, but saved her from physical harm; similarly, their youngest daughter Jessie took two bullets whilst protecting her older brother Jason, and died as a result.
The SWAT team started to surround the bus at 7:37 pm. The policemen broke windows of the bus with sledgehammers and tried to enter the bus, but were repelled by gunfire. The attempt to board the coach lasted for about an hour. Thereafter, four tear gas canisters were thrown into the bus as police struggled to open the door. None of the policemen knew about the emergency door switch, which would had saved them time and effort. An attempt to break open the door by trying to tie a rope attached to a police vehicle resulted in the rope snapping. Police marksmen, who had taken positions earlier in the day, shot Mendoza in the head during the assault. By that time, according to presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda, four more hostages were confirmed dead; six hostages were confirmed alive and not seriously injured. Two other people outside the bus – a 47-year-old TVB news crew engineer and a child bystander – were reportedly wounded by stray bullets.
Manila hostage incident victim name list
The name list of the victims of the hostage incident in Manila yesterday (August 23) is as follows:
Name Sex Status
Leung Chung See, Doris Female Deceased
Leung Song Yi, Jessie Female Deceased
Leung Kam Wing, Ken Male Deceased
Fu Cheuk Yan Male Deceased
Yeung Yee Wa Female Deceased
Yeung Yee Kam Female Deceased
Wong Tze Lam Male Deceased
Tse Ting Chunn, Masa Male Deceased
Leung Song Xue, Jason Male Injury on head by
Chan Kwok Chu, Joe Male Injury on wrist by
Yik Siu Ling Female Injury on chin by
Ng Yau Woon, Amy Female Slightly injured,
Lee Ying Chuen Female Slightly injured,
Lo Kam Fun Female Slightly injured,
Wong Cheuk Yiu, Tracey Female Slightly injured,