Date
24 October 2017
Police stand outside a prison in Kaoshiung during a 14-hour hostage drama. The crisis ended when the six inmates who had seized two prison officials shot and killed themselves. Photo: AFP
Police stand outside a prison in Kaoshiung during a 14-hour hostage drama. The crisis ended when the six inmates who had seized two prison officials shot and killed themselves. Photo: AFP

Bizarre end to Taiwan prison hostage drama

Six inmates in a Taiwan prison shot and killed themselves after holding the warden and the head guard hostage.

The killings ended a 14-hour standoff and came just moments before armed police were to launch an offensive to free the hostages, the Straits Times reported Thursday.

Warden Chen Shih-chih and officer Wang Shih-tsang are both safe, the report said, citing Deputy Justice Minister Chen Ming-tang.

The incident, the first of its kind on the island, took place in southern Kaoshiung city when the inmates seized the prison staff.

They were protesting alleged judicial prejudice against defendants, poor treatment of inmates including their NT$200 (US$6.33) monthly allowance and the release of former president Chen Shui-bian on medical parole last month.

The drama unfolded on Wednesday when the prisoners claimed they were being mistreated and sought medical attention, Focus Taiwan news channel reported.

They then held the of prison officials hostage, it said.

On Wednesday, the inmates  said they would release the hostages the next morning if their demands were read on television.  

Cheng Li-te, 46, who led the uprising, was serving an 18-year sentence for murder.

In a statement, he said he had not received a fair trial and questioned judicial system that would grant parole to Chen but not to other inmates.

Cheng turned his gripes into formal demands for better allowance and a request to be released on parole during negotiations with Kaohsiung city councilor Lee Mei-chen.

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CG/RA

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