The News Minute | February 12, 2015 | 08:51 am IST
Taipei: Six convicts carrying rifles and handguns, who took hostages at Kaohsiung prison in 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 themselves around 5 a.m. Thursday morning just before armed police were set to launch an action, according to deputy justice chief Chen Ming-tang, Xinhua reported.
The inmates reportedly pretended to seek medical attention at about 4 p.m. Wednesday and took several prison guards hostage to the prison armoury 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.
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 offences, once told media by telephone that the police must not storm the prison otherwise they would fire their weapons without hesitation.