Hong Kong Pursues Sanction vs. Philippines Despite Typhoon Haiyan Devastation

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By Athena Yenko | November 15, 2013 4:05 PM EST

Hong Kong has no plans to delay imposing economic sanctions against the Philippines despite the typhoon Haiyan crisis.

This is in lieu of the Manila hostage crisis back in 2010 when a disturbed Philippine police officer, axed from his job, took a coaster full of Hong Kong tourists as hostages in a desperate attempt to have his job back.

On Tuesday, Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying strongly said that he will do "necessary actions to apply sanctions" against the Philippines if the country failed to resolve the issue within a month.

"We have been in contact with the Philippine government over the last couple of days and they have not raised the question of extending the deadline," he said.

On Wednesday, media asked Hong Kong's Chief Secretary Carrie Lam if the typhoon Haiyan crisis in the Philippines will affect delay on the deadline set by Hong Kong.

"At this moment, we don't have this intention," she said.

She added that the hostage crisis and typhoon Haiyan devastation were "entirely separate issues."

Hong Kong legislators were one about this decision.

"I wouldn't agree to delaying the sanction. I think we should, on one hand, provide humanitarian relief to the best we can if that is being called for, but, on the other hand, the hostage incident is a matter of justice for the Hong Kong people and especially the victims," said Fernando Cheung, a Hong Kong lawmaker.

Tam Yiu-chung, chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the betterment and progress of Hong Kong also said that there is no need to delay the sanctions.

"It depends on the Philippine government if they ask for after that," Mr Yiu-Chung said.

The hard decision of Hong Kong officials angered Hong Kong netizens and the Filipino Community in Hong Kong, AFP reports.

"I am ashamed to call myself a Hong Konger and I hope the vast majority of Hong Kongers also feel the same, particularly with the government's callous and insensitive attitude on display to the world," one poster said.

"This government does not serve or represent the general HK population," another poster wrote.

Benjamin Panganiban, a director of the Philippine Association of Hong Kong said the decision was "inappropriate".

"After the aftermath of what happened in the typhoon, maybe we can delay that deadline," he added

Hong Kong was deeply angered about the amateur handling of Philippine police of the Manila hostage crisis. The hostage taking took eight hours of negotiations; yet, it ended with a shootout killing eight of the Hong Kong tourists and injured seven others.

Hong Kong had since been demanding an apology from Philippine President Benigno Aquino, compensation both for the survivors and families of the deceased and that the police officials responsible should be convicted.

Manila Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada had apologized since the police who responded during the hostage was under his command.

However, Hong Kong insists an apology from Mr Aquino.

Mr Aquino, for his part refused to apologise, saying that the failure of the police is not the failure of Philippine nation as a whole.

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