Taipei, Feb. 12 (CNA) A hostage crisis in a prison in southern Taiwan ended early Thursday with all six inmates responsible for the 14-hour confrontation taking their own lives, officials said. Two hostages, including the prison warden, are safe.
Wang Shih-tsang (王世倉）, head guard of Kaohsiung Prison, was the first to go free as he walked out of the compound at about 4 a.m., when sporadic gunshots were heard from inside the prison, which had been under siege since late Wednesday afternoon, according to the Ministry of Justice.
Ministry officials confirmed that at about 5:10 a.m., four of the inmates who took Wang and Warden Chen Shih-chih（陳世志）hostage shot themselves with the weapons they had taken from the prison armory.
Twenty minutes later, the other two hostage-takers fired some shots at those who had committed suicide apparently to make sure they were dead before turning their guns on themselves, officials said.
Chen, who was unharmed, walked out of the barricaded area alone and the crisis was declared over at 5:40 a.m.
Prosecutors and coroners were working Thursday morning to verify the identity of the six inmates, who had been serving prison terms from 25 years to life for drug-related crimes, robbery and murder.
Chen and Wang had offered to be taken hostage in place of others who were first held by the inmates, who were apparently led by Chen Li-te (鄭立德), a local gang leader. He began a sentence of 28.5 years for murder in August, 2012,
The prison hostage crisis, the first of its kind in Taiwan, occurred when the six made claims of being mistreated in prison and found an opportunity to take an undisclosed number of prison officials hostage.
They forced the officials to take them to the prison armory, where they took rifles and handguns and a large amount of ammunition, according to Deputy Justice Minister Chen Ming-tang (陳明堂).
Shots were fired during the night, including some rounds fired at a drone deployed by local media, although no one but the inmates themselves was hurt.
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