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9 killed on hijacked Philippine tourist bus

The Associated Press

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MANILA, Philippines – A 12-hour hostage drama aboard a hijacked Philippine bus ended in bloodshed Monday when an angry ex-policeman demanding his job back gunned down eight Hong Kong tourists before police stormed the vehicle and a sniper killed him.

The aftermath of the bus hijacking.

At least seven captives 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.

He 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.

Two of the surviving hostages were wounded in serious condition and the remaining five are under observation, Hong Kong leader Donald Tsang told reporters in the Chinese territory as he expressed shock and anger at the police response.

The bloodshed rattled the Philippines and raised questions about police ability to deal with hostage-takings.

“How can I be satisfied when there were people who died?” Philippine President Benigno Aquino III told reporters late Monday. But he said the situation deteriorated rapidly from the time the hostage-taker initially showed willingness to release his hostages.

Hong Kong issued a warning against travel to the Philippines and requested that Hong Kong tourists still in the country return. All upcoming tour groups were also canceled.

“I am very saddened by this tragedy. I am angered by the cold-blooded behavior of this murderer,” said Tsang, the Hong Kong leader.

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.

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9 killed on hijacked Philippine tourist bus