Kaohsiung Prison denies 'seventh inmate' in hostage crisis

Kaohsiung Prison denies 'seventh inmate' in hostage crisis
Police officers stand guard outside Kaohsiung Prison, southern Taiwan, February 11, 2015. Six armed inmates have taken the warden and officials as hostages at the prison, according to Taiwan's Ministry of Justice.

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Kaohsiung Prison Deputy Warden Lai Zheng-rong held a press conference yesterday to refute a media report that a seventh inmate was involved in last week's hostage crisis.

According to local Next Magazine, a seventh inmate was at the scene where six inmates committed suicide one by one after taking the prison warden hostage for more than 10 hours.

The magazine also questioned the prison's ability to handle emergencies, for the warden only arrived at the scene 40 minutes after the six inmates had taken two prison guards hostage.

Lai conceded the prison had been too slow in its response but vehemently denied the allegation that a seventh inmate was involved. Legal action may be taken against the false reporting, he said.

When the incident broke out along with screaming alarms, the prison was unable to ascertain in which area the incident was occuring. Also, the hostage crisis was at one point thought to be an inmate scuffle.

However, Kaohsiung Prison denied Next Magazine's two other allegations. No inmates were shot execution style and the prison never tried to stop the police from entering the facility, Lai said.

Camera shots showing the inmates' activity during the hostage crisis were released yesterday. The armed inmates were seen pointing guns at the warden.

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