Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cops rejected broadcasters' offer to negotiate with hostage-taker, HK court told

On August 23 last year, when dismissed senior police inspector Rolando Mendoza held hostage a bus with Chinese tourists, the police rejected the offers of at least two Manila radio hosts to negotiate with the hostage-taker, a Hong Kong court was told on Thursday.

This was the gist of the broadcasters' statements that were read before the Coroners' Court, according to a report by Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK).

"(Philippine) police refused an offer by two Manila radio hosts to help reopen negotiations with the gunman who took a busload of tourists from the territory hostage," the RTHK report said on Thursday.

Eight Chinese tourists from Hong Kong were killed along with their hostage-taker, Mendoza, in last year's hostage crisis in Manila.

While the RTHK report did not name the broadcasters, it said the two claimed that Mendoza had "stopped answering phone calls from the police, but he agreed to being interviewed by them."

A Philippine Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC) found that Mendoza was interviewed at length during the crisis by Michael Rogas of Radyo Mo Nationwide (RMN)-dzXL.

Police negotiators had claimed they could not get through to Mendoza because Mendoza was busy speaking with Rogas.

However, the statements read before Thursday's hearing in Hong Kong claimed that the broadcasters asked the police to use their phone line to speak with Mendoza but were turned down.

"They said they'd repeatedly asked the police to use their phone line to speak with him, but the offer was turned down," the RTHK report said.

The report added that the broadcasters also dismissed accusations that their interview caused the gunman to have a sudden emotional outburst.

The RTHK report said the broadcasters claimed that Mendoza became angry only after seeing his brother being arrested on a television monitor.






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