Monday, August 23, 2010

Police arrest brother of Philippine hostage-taker

MANILA, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Aug. 23, 2010) – Philippine policemen arrested Monday evening a brother of a former cop who is holding over a dozen Hong Kong tourists in Manila.

Director Leocadio Santiago, chief of police forces in the National Capital Region, said Gregorio Mendoza, also a policeman, was taken into custody after he accused him of instigating instead of convincing the hostage-taker, Rolando Mendoza, an ex-police officer, to peacefully surrender.

Moments after the arrest of Mendoza, several shots rang inside the bus where the tourists were being held by the former cop.

It was unknown whether any of the hostages were shot, but police commandos opened fire on the tires of the bus immobilizing the vehicle. The bus driver was able to escape after jumping out of the window, leaving the hostages behind. Their fate is unknown.

Mendoza, an officer of the Philippine National Police, was removed from service after he was accused of robbery and extortion, among others. But he denied all the charges against him and said he was wrongfully dismissed from the service.

So far at least 8 hostages had been freed by the hostage-taker, Rolando Mendoza, and police continue to negotiate for the safe release of the others, including several Filipinos.

Officials said Mendoza, armed with an automatic rifle, hijacked the bus, mostly carrying Hong Kong students, to air his gripe. His brother and wife also urged him to surrender peacefully.

Police forces have surrounded the bus and ready to strike if peaceful negotiations fail. (Mindanao Examiner)

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