Canadian dies trying to save family on Philippine bus
Ken Leung sat at the back of a Philippine tour bus, held hostage the previous 12 hours, when gunshots flew. With his three children nearby and his wife separated at the front of the bus, he stood up, charged the gunman, and died trying to save his family.
Amy Ng, who was shuffled to the front of the bus by the gunman earlier in the day, managed to escape unharmed — although she is left with a dead husband, two dead daughters and an 18-year-old son clinging to life in a Manila hospital.
“My husband died. My husband died,” said Ng in Cantonese to Philippine media. “He was very brave. He ran out from the back (of the bus), he wanted to stop (the gunman) from killing people. He sacrificed himself.”
Ken Leung, 58, was a Canadian dual-citizen living in Hong Kong. His two daughters, 14-year-old Jessie and 21-year-old Doris, a University of Toronto Scarborough student, were also killed in the standoff.
Jason Leung, 18, a recent graduate of Bronte College in Mississauga, survived the incident. A news release by the Hong Kong government Tuesday said that “Jason Leung is under observation in hospital after an operation on a gunshot to the head.” A Manila Doctors Hospital official in the intensive care unit would only reveal that Leung is still alive.
The ordeal began when Rolando Mendoza, a fired police officer armed with a M16 rifle and a pistol, seized a busload of 21 Hong Kong tourists and four locals to demand his reinstatement on the force.
It ended in bloodshed with police storming the bus and killing the gunman after he opened fire on the tourists, killing eight of them.
Ken Leung was the managing director of Stadium Asia, a UK-based manufacturing company. In a statement released Tuesday, Chief Executive Nigel Rogers said, “Ken’s passing is an enormous shock to all of us, and our immediate concerns are for his wife, son and wider family at this most difficult time.”
A company profile says he holds a license from Professional Engineering Ontario.
When reached Tuesday, Bronte College of Canada confirmed that Jason Leung left the Mississauga campus on Aug. 5 to go on this trip with his family after his recent graduation in July. He had stayed on to take summer school courses, according to his best friend Arif Khwaja.
“He was supposed to come back for university,” said Khwaja, 20. “We also planned to see the movie Left For Dead, which is based on a game and promised each other (we would) watch it together.
“This is really horrible because they’d gone back to their home country for vacation. I know he’d never expect something like this,” Khwaja said.
Pash Ummat, Jason Leung’s chemistry teacher at Bronte, was advising him in recent days over email about his university options in September.
“He was asking whether computer science at Windsor was a good program and whether environmental science at Trent was a good program,” Ummat said. “He was going to choose one of those. This is just so sad. He is a very good student, very good.”
Ummat added that Jason helped him out with a science show this summer for more than 100 younger students.
“We’d do explosions, you know, and he’d help out,” Ummat said. “He’s so helpful and humble. Humility is his middle name.”
Ron Taylor, the college’s residence coordinator, called Leung “an excellent guy, a great kid.”
“I drove him to the airport when he was going home to Hong Kong earlier this month. At first I didn’t believe it when I heard the news. Then I saw his sisters’ names and everything. It was just a shock.”
Taylor said Leung was well-liked and an excellent student.
“He was so easygoing. He couldn’t wait to get home. He was excited to get home because he was going on a trip with his family. I guess that was the trip they were on.”
Administrator Syndra Carlier, who “saw (Jason) every day,” said he is a Canadian who came from Hong Kong in September last year and boarded at Bronte College.
“He was a very nice kid. His parents were nice, we met with them,” she said. “He was a very quiet, very smart kid. So this is a tremendous shock to everyone.”
The University of Toronto said Tuesday that, although the Department of Foreign Affairs did not confirm the identity of the victims, “We can say that the individual being mentioned publicly as having passed away, Doris Leung, is a (University of Toronto Scarborough) student.” Before attending U of T, the 21-year-old graduated from an international high school in Hong Kong that follows the academic curriculum of the province of Alberta.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said Tuesday it is “aware” but has not confirmed that there may have been Canadians in the hostage-taking.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper expressed his condolences to those who had lost loved ones in the hostage taking.
“Officials obviously are following this very closely and I’m not in a position to give any details but we do know there are deaths involved . . . It is a terrible and tragic incident,” Harper told reporters Tuesday in Churchill, Man.
Ng cannot imagine what her life will be like without her heroic husband.
“I really wanted to embrace my husband and die with him, but I thought of my children. I thought I have to try my best to protect myself so I can take care of them . . . I miss him. I really miss him,” she sobbed.