Hong Kong sanctions PH officials over hostage crisis

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

MANILA -- Hong Kong will end visa-free visits by Philippine officials because their government has not apologized for the deaths of eight Hong Kong tourists nearly four years ago, the southern Chinese city's leader said Wednesday.

Leung Chun-ying said holders of official Philippine government passports will no longer be allowed to visit for up to 14 days without visas starting February 5.

He said it was the first phase of sanctions he had threatened last year.

Ordinary Filipino travelers are not affected.

Relations between Hong Kong and the Philippines have soured over the 2010 incident, in which eight Hong Kong tourists and their guide were killed in a bungled police rescue after being taken hostage on a Manila tour bus by a dismissed police officer. [READ: Bus hostage crisis leaves 8 dead]

The Philippines has expressed regret but has not officially apologized.

Leung did not say what further steps he would take. He said the two sides had agreed on three other issues: compensation, holding responsible officials accountable, and putting in place safety measures for tourists.

Hong Kong issued a "black" travel warning for the Philippines following the tragedy, a label the country shares with Egypt, Syria and Bangkok, Thailand. (AP/Sunnex)

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