Six inmates take prison staff hostage in Taiwan

Six inmates take prison staff hostage in Taiwan

TAIPEI - Six prison inmates in Taiwan, who are believed to be armed, have taken three staff hostage at a jail in the southern city of Kaohsiung, officials said Wednesday.

The inmates, who broke into a prison weapons room, had obtained four rifles and six handguns and taken the prison chief and two other staff members captive, deputy justice minister Chen Ming-tang said.

The six, who are in jail for a variety of crimes including manslaughter, robbery and drugs, are demanding their release from prison.

"Negotiations with the kidnappers are underway. They demanded they leave the prison from a side door," he said.

Television images showed dozens of police armed with rifles and protective gear surrounding the prison.

Chen said the kidnappers had fired shots into air apparently as a warning, but no one was hurt.

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