APEC evicts HK journalists who heckled AquinoBy AP News Oct 07, 2013 5:17PM UTC
BALI, Indonesia (AP) — Officials at an APEC summit revoked the press credentials of a group of Hong Kong journalists who shouted questions to Philippine President Benigno Aquino III about his refusal to apologize for the killings of Hong Kong tourists in Manila three years ago.
Reporters from Now TV, Radio Television Hong Kong and Commercial Radio asked Aquino as he walked by them Sunday at the regional meeting in Bali if he would meet Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying and apologize to the families of the victims.
“Will you apologize to Hong Kong people for their real tragedy?” a woman reporter asked, TV footage showed. “Will you give an answer? It has been three years,” she said.
“So you are ignoring Hong Kong people, right?” another reporter asked.
Aquino did not reply to their questions. Now TV footage showed an APEC staff member telling the reporters: “You ambushed one of our visitors.”
Eight Hong Kong tourists and their guide were killed on a tourist bus by a dismissed Manila police officer in a daylong hostage crisis in 2010 that ended with a botched police rescue.
Aquino has expressed regret over the bloodshed but repeatedly said he considers the issue closed and that it was not appropriate for the Philippine government to apologize because the state was not responsible. However, families of the victims have continued to press for an official apology and compensation.
The Now TV footage showed another APEC staff telling one of the reporters: “You know that the decency (includes) not screaming. You do understand that?”
The reporter is heard answering, “I am asking, I’m not screaming, OK?” The staffer went on to tell him, “Now out!”
Gatot S. Dewabroto, a member of Indonesia’s APEC Organizing Committee, said the credentials of nine Hong Kong journalists had been revoked for behavior that was “excessive, disrespectful and disturbing the event.”
He said the decision was not made at the request of the Philippines. The reporters are barred from entering the conference venues but can cover the APEC meetings from outside, he said.
Edwin Lacierda, Aquino’s spokesman in Manila, said the APEC organizers took “appropriate measures.”
“The Indonesians felt that it was not civil and it was not courteous,” he said.
Leaders of the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum along with thousands of business leaders, officials and journalists are meeting amid tight security on this tropical island in eastern Indonesia for an annual summit.