HONG KONG, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government will scrutinize the Philippines' first report on the hostage-taking incident, and expects the Philippine authorities to step up efforts to complete the work as soon as possible, said a Hong Kong government spokesman on Monday.
The HKSAR government on Monday received from the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China in Hong Kong a copy of the first report of the Incident Investigation and Review Committee of the Philippines on the hostage-taking incident in Manila.
The HKSAR government needs time to scrutinize the lengthy document, said the spokesman.
He said the committee has not been evasive in confronting the critical questions, whose positive attitude deserves to be acknowledged, and the committee has demonstrated its sincere efforts in working against time and relative physical constraints in completing its first report.
The spokesman said the report gives a detailed account of the incident and contains severe criticisms of the key responsible Philippine officials for their lapses of judgment and the way they handled the matter. It also recommends that the relevant officials be held responsible and actions be taken against them accordingly.
"While we are not yet in a position to comment on the relevant conclusions, we acknowledge that the committee has been serious in handling the matter." he said.
He also noted that the report admits that the causes of death of the eight victims and the causes of injury of the seven others need to be further ascertained, thus final conclusions have yet to be drawn.
"We expect the Philippine authorities to step up their efforts to complete the work as soon as possible. We and the Philippine authorities have been cooperating well in this regard. To this end, we will continue to work closely with the Philippine authorities to facilitate communication between the two sides for further investigation and follow-up forensic and ballistic examinations."
The Coroner's Court of the HKSAR has earlier instructed the Hong Kong Police to assist in the investigation. The government will submit the Philippine authorities' first report and other related investigation materials to the Coroner's Court for consideration. Upon receiving the relevant information and the independent investigation report to be compiled by the Hong Kong police, the Coroner will decide whether to hold a hearing.
The spokesman reiterated that the incident is a heart-wrenching tragedy. "As shown by the Philippine investigation report, it could have been avoided."
He said the HKSAR government sincerely hopes that the Philippine authorities could continue with their efforts in dealing with the aftermath properly, including taking action against the negligent officers, following up with the investigation, and dealing with the matter "in a fair manner so that the call for justice can be answered."