HK forensic experts to examine tourist bus


Posted at Aug 30 2010 10:23 AM | Updated as of Aug 30 2010 07:01 PM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - Hong Kong forensic experts have proceeded to Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City to examine a tourist bus used in a hostage taking incident exactly a week ago.

In an interview with Umagang Kay Ganda’s Punto por Punto, Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman Senior Superintendent Agrimero Cruz said the Hong Kong forensic experts are already at Camp Bagong Diwa to examine the Hong Thai Travel bus.

"They’re already there. We are transparent. We want to show not just to fellow Filipinos but to the whole world…that we want a transparent and comprehensive investigation.”

A minor commotion on Saturday further aggravated the already tense relationship between the country and the Hong Kong and Chinese governments.

The PNP prevented forensic experts from examining the tourist bus where the hostage incident happened.

The hostage-taker, dismissed Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza, and 8 Hong Kong tourists died inside the bus during a 12-hour hostage drama at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila.

Agrimero said the task force led by the National Bureau of Investigation would be finishing its operations there this morning.

He said the forensic experts would be identified later Monday. Two representatives from the Hong Kong Interpol liaison team would lead the forensic experts, he added.

No advisory?

Teresita Ang-See, spokesperson of the Citizens Action Against Crime, however lambasted the police for barring the experts from entering the crime scene.

“[How can they say they were] unprepared? They know it. I myself know that they are coming. I read in Hong Kong papers that even our government allowed it,” she said.

Agrimero however insisted they did not receive information regarding the arrival of the Hong Kong forensic team.

He compared the situation to a basketball game, whereby players can’t just enter in the middle of a play.

“The NBI was inside the bus. They own the bus [and lead the investigation]…We were really shocked that they arrived,” he said.

He noted however that the investigators did not drive away the foreigners, instead they were allowed to even observe ongoing operations.

Protocols needed

Speaking through a phone patch, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima confirmed there was no prior coordination either with the departments of Justice and Foreign Affairs.

“My position is that, we can’t prevent them from doing their own investigation. At this point however, they should allow the NBI, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and the Scene of the Crime Operatives to finish,” she said.

She said she will raise investigation protocols with the forensic experts also this morning.

“They can act as observers, but they can’t interfere. They can go ahead and examine for whatever purpose it may suit the Hong Kong government later when we submit a full and comprehensive report to them,” she said.