Philippine police killed armed assailant in hostage drama

Philippine policemen assist a passenger to safety during a robbery incident inside a public bus in Manila on Oct 8, 2015.
Philippine policemen assist a passenger to safety during a robbery incident inside a public bus in Manila on Oct 8, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

MANILA (AFP) - Philippine police shot and killed a man who took a fellow bus passenger hostage in central Manila on Thursday (Oct 08), authorities said.

Police closed down a normally clogged avenue and surrounded the bus where the unidentified assailant held up a fellow passenger with a knife.

"The hostage was able to escape and that was when the police shot and wounded him (the assailant). No other people in the bus were hurt," Manila police spokeswoman Chief Inspector Kim Gonzales told AFP.

"He has already passed away. We don't know who he is or why he did it." Local press reports said the bus passengers fled when the driver stopped the vehicle after noticing the incident.

"We congratulate our policemen for doing a good job," Manila city mayor Joseph Estrada told reporters.

"There were no negotiations," he added. "They deceived the hostage-taker and waited for an opportunity to get at him." In 2010 a hostage crisis also ended in gunfire at a park just one kilometre away from Thursday's incident, after a disgraced ex-Manila police officer held a bus with Hong Kong tourists on board hostage after being fired.

Day-long negotiations to release those trapped on the bus failed and, with the drama being broadcast live around the world, security forces bungled a rescue attempt.

They shot the hijacker dead but eight of the Hong Kong tourists died and seven others were injured, triggering a diplomatic firestorm that took nearly four years to resolve.