BEIJING, Aug. 23 (Xinhua) -- At least eight tourists from Hong Kong were confirmed dead and another two seriously injured in a bus hijack in Manila Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said Monday night.
"The Chinese government expresses its grave condolence to the victims and its deep sympathy to the families of those Hong Kong compatriots," Ma said in a statement.
The Chinese government strongly condemns the violence of the hijacker, and will send a working team to the Philippines to deal with the aftermath, he said.
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi also held a phone conversation with Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang over the tragedy. They agreed that the working teams sent by the Foreign Ministry and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government will cooperate in dealing with the aftermath.
Tsang also appreciated the central government's efforts.
A bus carrying 21 Hong Kong tourists and four Filipinos was hijacked in the Philippine capital Monday morning by a former Police Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza.
Mendoza, who is demanding the authorities to be reinstated to the service, released some hostages but kept 15 Chinese nationals in the coach until he was found dead after local police assaulted the bus Monday night.
The Chinese government, which attached great importance to the case, has urged the Philippine side to spare no efforts in rescuing the hostages on precondition that their safety is ensured, Ma said.
The related Chinese departments will keep close contact with the Philippine side and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government to make all-out efforts to rescue the wounded and to properly deal with the aftermath, he said.
"China has requested the Philippine side to take pragmatic measures to ensure life and property safety of Chinese nationals in the country," Ma said.