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Hong Kong sends chartered plane to Manila, issues black travel alert after tragedy

HONG KONG (Xinhua) - Hong Kong is dispatching a chartered plane to carry family members of the 21 Hong Kong tourists involved in the tragedy to Manila, the city's government said in a statement this evening.

Also aboard the chartered plane would be medics, community volunteers and psychologists, said the statement.

The government also said it has issued the Black Outbound Travel Alert for the Philippines. The black alert is the highest level of Hong Kong's three-sign Outbound Travel Alert system, indicating a "severe threat" exists and all travel to the destination should be avoided.

Hong Kong government said it has asked the city's Travel Industry Council to forward messages to Hong Kong's tour groups still in the Philippines, requiring them to come back to Hong Kong as soon as possible.

A 21-member Hong Kong tour group aboard a bus was hijacked by a dismissed Filipino policeman earlier in the day.

The incident ended with at least four captives being killed, according to media reports in the Philippines.

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The hostage-taker, former Police Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza, was killed after local police assaulted the bus to save the hostages.

Police took the injured to nearby hospitals - Philippine General Hospital, Manila Doctors Hospital and Manila Hospital - for treatment.

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