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Thursday, February 12, 2015, 10:08

Inmates commit suicide in Taiwan prison

By Xinhua
Inmates commit suicide in Taiwan prison

Police gather outside a prison as prisoners hold prison staff hostage inside in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Feb11, 2015. Six inmates took prison staff including the warden hostage, seized guns and ammunition, and demanded safe exit from a prison in southern Taiwan on Wednesday, authorities said. (AP Photo)

TAIPEI - Six convicts carrying rifles and handguns who took hostages at Kaohsiung Prison in southern Taiwan killed themselves early Thursday morning, ending nearly 14 hours of standoff with the police.

The two hostages, including prison warden Chen Shih-chih and head guard Wang Shih-tsang were both safe, officials said.

The hostage-takers shot them to death at around 5 am Thursday morning just before armed police are set to launch an overall offense action, according to deputy justice chief Chen Ming-tang.

The inmates reportedly pretended to seek medical attention at about 4 pm Wednesday and took several prison guards hostage to the prison armory where they took four rifles and six handguns as well as over 200 bullets

Deputy warden Lai Chen-jung and head guard Wang then offered to swap places with the hostages. Later warden Chen Shih-chih offered himself as a hostage in exchange for his deputy's release, leaving the hostage-takers with just Wang and Warden Chen.

Before the convicts committed suicide, authorities tried to negotiate with the six prisoners while deploying more than 250 heavily armed officers, including riot police, SWAT teams and a Marine assault squad.

Authorities had not tried to storm the prison to prevent even larger jailbreak or fatalities, as Kaohsiung Prison is among the largest correctional facilities in southern Taiwan, with more than 2,000 inmates.

The inmates, all serving more than 10-year terms for murder, drug possession, burglary and other offenses, once told media by telephone that the police must not storm the prison otherwise they would fire their weapons without hesitation.

 
 
 
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