8 dead as Filipino hostage standoff ends

Bus hijacker was ex-police officer dismissed in police extortion case.

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
August 23, 2010 19:05
2 minute read.
Hostage negotiators, left and right, talk to foreign tourists taken hostage by Police Senior Inspect

Philippines hostage 311 AP. (photo credit: Associated Press)

MANILA, Philippines — A 12-hour hostage stand-off on a bus hijacked by a disgruntled ex-policeman in the Philippines ended in bloodshed Monday, with officials saying at least seven Chinese tourists were dead along with the ex-policeman who seized their vehicle in a bid to get his job back.

At least six hostages survived, four of whom were seen crawling out the back door of the bus after Philippine police stormed it Monday evening when the hostage-taker started shooting at the 15 Chinese tourists inside, said police Senior Superintendent Nelson Yabut.

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Police said they fired at the tires to immobilize the vehicle.

Moments later, a Filipino driver was seen during live TV footage late Monday running away from the bus. Police commandos then surrounded it and were seen breaking the door and windows with a hammer, though they still did not enter the vehicle.


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Yabut said the hostage-taker was killed with a sniper shot to the head after he wounded a police sharpshooter.

Police and ambulances were lined up next to the vehicle in the pouring rain after the standoff ended. Local hospitals reported seven bodies of hostages were brought in. One other hostage was hospitalized in critical condition, and five others were unharmed.

Officials have yet to disclose the fate of two other hostages.

The crisis began when the dismissed policeman, Rolando Mendoza, 55, armed with a M16 rifle seized the busload of Hong Kong tourists to demand his reinstatement in the force.


According to newspaper reports from 2008, he was among five officers who had been charged with robbery, extortion and grave threats after a Manila hotel chef filed a complaint alleging the policemen falsely accused him of using drugs to extort money.

The gunman released nine hostages during the afternoon — leaving 15 inside — and demanded his job back to free the rest. Despite hopes that negotiations might bring the stand-off to a peaceful conclusion, tensions escalated as night closed in

Two of the Hong Kong tourists, both women, were the first to be released, followed by a girl, two boys and their mother as well as their Hong Kong guide, Magtibay said. A seventh hostage freed was suffering from diabetes, police said.


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