HONG KONG – Philippine authorities mistakenly sent the bodies of three of the victims in the Manila bus hijacking to the wrong families, Hong Kong said Thursday, the latest in a series of missteps in the handling of the crisis.
The bodies of eight tourists killed in the attack were shipped back last Wednesday to Hong Kong, where tearful relatives laid wreaths on the coffins of their loved ones in an airport ceremony _ but three families were paying their respects to the wrong bodies.
The three families discovered the mistake when they opened the coffins at the morgue later that night, Hong Kong's Security Bureau said in a statement. The families had identified the bodies in Manila, so it's possible that funeral parlor workers in the Philippines mislabeled them, the statement said.
The Security Bureau didn't identify which victims were mixed up.
Philippine Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman said she would investigate, adding, "If there was a mix-up of those names, we apologize."
Hong Kongers have been outraged that Philippine police bungled negotiations last week with the hostage-taker, a former police officer seeking reinstatement, as well as the rescue operation. Thousands of Chinese tourists have canceled their flight and hotel bookings to the country.
Hong Kong's 60-member Legislative Council on Thursday overwhelmingly passed a resolution that declares that the rescue operation suffered from "serious failures."
Philippine Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said that investigators will begin questioning senior officials on Friday, starting with the deputy interior secretary and top police commanders.
However, some in the Philippines argue that the country has already shown enough remorse and shouldn't be reduced to self-flagellation.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer said in an editorial on Thursday that the country has already asked for forgiveness and wants a proper investigation as well.
"We are in solidarity with the women and men who offer prayers, flowers and lighted candles ... but we see no point in prostrating ourselves further, or in insulting the Philippine government as though in a continuing kowtow," the newspaper wrote.
Reposted From Min Lee Of Associated Press