Former Senior Inspector Rolando Medonza hi-jacked a Hong Thai Travel tourist bus and took hostage 25 people including Chinese and Hong Kong nationals, and Filipinos yesterday, Inquirer.net reports. Mendoza, who was terminated from service without retirement benefits earlier this year for extortion and drug-related charges, staged the hostage-taking to demand reinstatement into the police force. Mendoza was named one of 10 outstanding policemen of the Philippines in 1986.

Mendoza was calm throughout the day, releasing nine hostages and asking for lunch for the rest of the victims. After a phone call with his brother, Senior Police Officer Gregorio Mendoza, who was helping with negotiations, he did not go through with his 3PM ultimatum for the answering of his demands. The crisis came to a head when the police forcibly arrested Gregorio “for attempting to enter the bus while armed to talk to his brother without authorization,” police said in an Inquirer.net report. Shots were heard from inside the bus a few minutes after as Mendoza heard Gregorio’s pleas through a TV receiver and radio. The tragedy ended after the police threw a tear gas bomb into the bus and Mendoza was shot with sniper fire.

Eight Hong Kong tourists are confirmed dead, Inquirer.net reports, with seven others still in the hospital. Meanwhile, the Hong Kong government has issued a top-level black travel alert for the Philippines.

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