Brazil gunman who strapped hostage with 'explosives' surrenders

 An armed man who took an employee hostage at a hotel in the Brazilian capital and forced him to don a vest apparently stuffed with explosives has surrendered, authorities said Monday.

The gunman called a hotel courier in the early hours and pushed him into a room on the 13th floor of the Saint Peter hotel, a police spokesman told AFP.

"He has given himself up," the spokesman said, adding that the man had been taken to a police station in Brasilia.

It was not known if the apparent explosives were real, police commissioner Paulo Henrique Almeida said, telling reporters an investigation had been opened.

"We were concerned that he was making no specific demands," Almeida added.

The hostage was no longer wearing the vest when the assailant surrendered to police mid-afternoon.

According to local media reports, the man, in his 30s, was a former candidate in municipal elections.

He reportedly demanded enforcement of a new law preventing candidates with a criminal record from standing in next week's general elections.

The man appeared several times on the hotel balcony, waving a pistol and manhandling his handcuffed hostage.

Security evacuated the hotel and sent in three negotiators to try to resolve the situation as well as a bomb disposal unit after the hostage taker called the hotel's reception to inform it he was holding the employee.