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Two Britons survive hostage drama

Two survivors of the Philippines hostage drama were British nationals, the Foreign Office has said.

The 12-hour ordeal on a bus in Manila ended with the deaths of eight Hong Kong tourists along with their Filipino hostage-taker after negotiations failed.

A spokesman for the Foreign Office said: "We can confirm that two of the released hostages are British nationals."

He continued: "We have offered consular assistance and stand ready to provide it if requested. We are not aware of any other British nationals involved."

According to sources, it is understood the British nationals are an elderly couple from Hong Kong. The former British colony is now a special administrative region of China.

The siege happened after sacked policeman Rolando Mendoza, 55, seized the busload of 21 tourists and four locals to demand his reinstatement to the force. He was armed with an M16 rifle and a pistol.

The ordeal ended in bloodshed on live TV with police storming the bus and killing the gunman after he fired at the tourists, killing eight of them.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said his government was "appalled" and telephoned his Philippines counterpart Alberto Romulo to voice concern. "The Chinese government demands the Philippine government launch a thorough investigation into the incident and inform the Chinese side of related details as soon as possible," Mr Yang said, according to a statement posted on his ministry's website.

Philippines police defended their action but promised to review all events leading to the deaths. "There will be an internal audit. We will look at whether what we did was right," national police spokesman Agrimero Cruz said.

According to newspaper reports, Mendoza was among five officers who had been charged with robbery, extortion and grave threats after a Manila hotel chef filed a complaint alleging they falsely accused him of using drugs to extort money. Mendoza was fired last year but claimed he was innocent.


From Belfast Telegraph