‎”I came from the country where hostage taking is a form of entertainment, where the police and SWAT are incompetent, and where the media people report everything like boxing analysts.”

Philippine policemen take position as they start their attack on the tourist bus hijacked in Manila on August 23, 2010

A fired policeman hijacked a tourist bus in Manila and killed at least seven passengers by the time the 10-hour siege ended on Monday night, local time.

The gunman, Senior Inspector Reynaldo del Rosario Mendoza, seized the bus armed with an M-16 automatic rifle.

Police later surrounded the vehicle, and a bloody gun battle ensued on the streets of the Philippine capital. The siege ended when Mendoza was shot dead.

The bus was originally carrying 25 to 30 passengers, depending on reports, mostly tourists from Hong Kong. Nine were released early on in the incident.

It was feared that there were none left alive after the Filipino driver escaped the bus shouting “all the hostages are dead!” reported Sky News.

At one point in the afternoon, a body was left dangling out of the window of the vehicle.

During the siege, Mendoza gave a live telephone interview with a local radio station, threatening to kill all the remaining passengers on board.

“I can see there are many SWAT teams arriving, they are all around,” he said.

“I know they will kill me, I’m telling them to leave because anytime I will do the same here.”

Police eventually shot the tires from the vehicle, which led to the gunman opening fire on the passengers.

At least seven were killed in the siege, AFP reported. A hospital also received the body of another woman believed to be among the hostages.

Police have declined to give exact figures for the number of casualties.

Hong Kong has issued its highest-level black notice for travel to the Philippines, an unprecedented move that indicates that a threat may be “imminent.”

“Hong Kong residents should avoid all travel to the country,” a government spokesman said in a statement. “Those who are already there should attend to their personal safety and exercise caution.”

Mendoza boarded the bus in the city of Intramuros, and waited several stops until Jose Rizal Park before producing his rifle and declaring that he was taking charge of the bus.

“Big deal will start after 3pm today,” he said, in a handwritten note pasted to the window of the bus.

The Manila Bulletin, citing records obtained from the Philippine National Police, reported that Mendoza would have been months away from mandatory retirement at age 56.

Over the course of his career, Mendoza had been decorated with 17 police service medals and a commendation for excellent job performance, the records show.

However, in 2008, Mendoza was among five police officers charged with robbery, extortion and threats. It is not clear from the records if he was

Mendoza’s younger brother, Gregorio—who is also a policeman—said his brother felt that “injustice was done on him.”

“He was disappointed that he did well in police service but was dismissed for a crime he did not do,” he was quoted by news agencies as saying.

According to the travel agency, Hong Thai Travel, the bus had 20 tourists from Hong Kong, three tour guides, a photographer and a driver.

Police attempted to storm the bus several times, on one occasion using a sledgehammer to attempt to break the windows, but still failing to enter the vehicle.

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