China on Monday said it wants a peaceful solution to ending a hostage crisis involving its nationals in the Philippines. "We want everything taken to secure the safety and security of our nationals," Beijing's deputy chief of mission in Manila, Bai Tian, told reporters.
Seven Hong Kong Chinese tourists from a group of 22 have already been freed, hours after a disgruntled former policeman took over a tourist bus in Manila.
Three Filipinos were also on board. Police said negotiations were ongoing with the hostage-taker, identified as ex-senior inspector Rolando Mendoza, a decorated officer relieved from his post in 2008 after allegations of crimes related to extortion and illegal drugs.
Mendoza is demanding that he be reinstated, according to negotiators. "We are doing our best to resolve this as quickly as possible," said Chief Inspector Erwin Margarejo, a police spokesman on the scene, describing the attitude of the suspect as "courteous." "The use of force is a last resort," he said.