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December 13, 2012

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Police burst in to end 5-hour hostage standoff

POLICE rescued a woman held as hostage by a man at knifepoint for five hours yesterday evening by breaking into a suburban inn after negotiations stalled.

The male suspect, in his thirties, was detained by police. The man was a customer of the inn located in suburban Minhang District and was believed to have been taking drugs, police said.

His identity and motive was still under investigation, police said.

The victim, a middle-aged woman who works on the hotel's cleaning staff, was sent to a hospital after she was freed.

The woman didn't appear to have visible wounds other than a cut on her hand when she walked out with the help of officers.

Police said they rescued the woman by breaking into the room with two SWAT teams separately smashing the window and breaking open the door.

The abduction started in the Jiahao Inn on Jidi Road, in Huacao Town of Minhang, at about 2pm yesterday when the owner of the inn alerted police, saying one of his workers was being held as hostage by a customer.

Police said the man threatened the woman with a knife and held her in a room on the second floor. The man pulled down the curtain of the room to prevent snipers from aiming at him.

Police said they sent negotiators to talk with the man behind the closed door, but he appeared to be out of control and rejected any kind of dialogue, instead shouting at them, demanding them to back down.

Police officers threw a phone through the door and used it to communicate with the suspect. They even brought the woman's husband to beg the abductor to free her, but the efforts were in vain.

The negotiation lasted for about five hours but the suspect didn't show any sign of giving up.

At about 6:55pm, firefighters set up ladders on both sides of the inn.

A SWAT team of police and a firefighter climbed onto the two ladders.

At about 7:55pm, the firefighter stepped on an air-conditioner and smashed the window with the hammer, while the police swiftly jumped into the room. At the same time, another team of police broke the door open.

One member of the team seized and controlled the suspect, while the other team dragged the woman out.

The action took less than three minutes, police said.


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