HONG KONG - Family members of Manila hostage crisis approved the sanction against the Philippines, saying that it is a good start and will give the Philippines some pressure.
The Hong Kong government declared a sanction against the Philippines since Manila failed to make a formal apology and meet all other demands by families of victims who were killed in a hostage crisis three years ago.
Chief Executive CY Leung announced that the sanction will take effect February 5 by suspending 14-day visa-free treatment for holders of diplomatic and official passports of the Republic of the Philippines.
It is estimated that about 700-800 Philippine individuals who hold diplomatic or official passports to travel to Hong Kong each year will be affected.
According to Leung, the suspension of the courtesy treatment would be just the first-phase of a series of sanctions.
Tse Chi Hang, family member of one of the victims said in a telephone interview on Wednesday that the Philippine side failed to give any formal apology and meet their demands. The sanction by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) government showed a good start to give them pressure for some concrete action.
Meanwhile, Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, a member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong, said that the Hong Kong SAR government will take various measures to push the negotiation forward.
"We have been preparing for the worst. This tenure of the Philippine president will end by 2016 and he cannot pursue another term. There are many people against his views. Some also criticize him. The Hong Kong SAR government can do our work from the political perspective and talk to people in economic and political circle. The present president will not seek another term and he will not take concrete measures. We have to wait a little longer," said Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee.
The hostage crisis happened on August 23, 2010, when a dismissed local police officer, Rolando Mendoza, hijacked a tourist bus carrying 25 people in Manila. Mendoza and eight Hong Kong tourists were killed and seven others were injured.