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Wednesday, November 19, 1997 Published at 13:58 GMT


Armed siege ends in Taiwan

Site of the siege

An armed siege in Taiwan has ended after the fugitive released his final hostage and surrendered to police.

The ordeal began on Tuesday night when the gunman, Chen Jhin-Hsing, forced his way into the home of South African envoy Mac Alexander, in Taipei.

[ image: Hundreds of police surrounded the building]
Hundreds of police surrounded the building
The final captive, the diplomat's wife, was released after police negotiations. The house had been surrounded by hundreds of officers.

The diplomat's 12-year-old daughter was earlier allowed to go free after police announced a deal aimed at ending the siege.

A statement read by a prosecutor said that judicial authorities and police had agreed to reopen their investigation of alleged involvement by Chen's relatives in a murder for which Chen had been sought.

Chen has admitted taking part in a string of violent killings, but says his wife is innocent and called for charges against her and two other relatives concerning the case to be dropped.

Shortly before the deal was announced, Chen released the diplomat's seven month old foster son.

Earlier Chen's wife was allowed to enter the building, accompanied by a senior police officer. She was brought to the scene from a police station.

[ image: Colonel E G Mac Alexander: released along with his daughter]
Colonel E G Mac Alexander: released along with his daughter
Chen initially took five hostages. He released Mr Alexander and his adult daughter, Melanie, both suffering gunshot wounds, for hospital treatment. Doctors say their lives are not in danger.

Live confession

Chen confessed his involvement in a kidnap and murder carried out earlier this year in a series of telephone conversations with reporters broadcast live on Taiwanese television. He said he expected to die.

He said: "I am holding hostages. They (the police) must talk to me.

"If I let the hostages go, I will die.... I will die eventually anyway. I don't want to live."

Chen spoke a mix of Mandarin and Chinese and appeared confused during the interview.

"I have no intention to turn myself in," he said. "I won't hurt them (the hostages) but it is difficult to say if they (police) burst in."

He said he had been involved in a number of killings then told the host of the live programme: "Don't broadcast this right now."

[ image: Pai Hsiao-yen who was kidnapped and murdered]
Pai Hsiao-yen who was kidnapped and murdered
Chen demanded the authorities set free his wife and friends, detained for their alleged role in a high-profile kidnapping and murder earlier this year of Pai Hsiao-yen, the only daughter of actress Pai Ping-ping, and other killings.

The group allegedly snatched the teenager on April 14 and demanded a record ransom of $5 million. She was later raped and stabbed to death.

[ image:  ]
The victim's mutilated body was later discovered in a ditch near Taipei. Twelve other people have been arrested in connection with the brutal crime.

The teenager's horrific murder sparked widespread public outrage, which led to two mass demonstrations.

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