Monday July 23, 2012
Killing of hostage taker becomes talking point
MADE IN CHINA By CHOW HOW BAN
A MAN was shot dead last Thursday night at a busy subway station in Beijing after he refused to release a hostage.
The bespectacled man, clad in a black suit and white shirt, shocked workers and commuters at the Hujialou Line 10 station when he started swinging a knife while holding a female staff, who was manning a security checkpoint, hostage around 9pm.
Video footage broadcast over local television showed the man negotiating terms with a police team of four or five officers in front of two ticket vending machines.
The negotiators told him not to move or hurt the hostage while the SWAT (special weapons and tactics) team rushed to the scene equipped with Type 88 sniper rifles. They were prepared to ambush the man.
Several Netizens tweeted from the scene that the hostage was horrified and weeping.
A Netizen, by the monicker ding xiao ci nia, said that she witnessed the incident and some station workers had calmed the man down before the arrival of the police.
Beijing TV images showed that the station was cordoned off and hordes of passers-by and commuters were gathered outside the station.
Media reports said that the negotiators had offered themselves as hostages instead of the female staff but the man shot down the request.
Even after about 70 minutes, negotiations remained deadlocked and the SWAT team then decided to take the manís life.
Footage later showed the man lying in a pool of blood.
The female staff was rescued and sent to the nearby Chaoyang Hospital.
The following day, the Beijing municipal public security bureau said on microblog site Sina Weibo that the police shot the man because he had tried to hurt the hostage following failed negotiations.
The bureau said it was investigating the manís motive and the cause of the incident.
Beijing Times reported that the hostage escaped unhurt but was still in a state of shock.
When a journalist from the daily queried staff members at the station the day after the drama, they chose to remain tight-lipped.
The subway operator has beefed up security at the stations by conducting thorough checks on all commuters and searching for weapons or inflammable material.
Many residents expressed hope that the police would explain why they had shot the man, given negotiations were a viable option and solution.
They added, however, that the safety of the hostage and commuters at the scene of the incident was of paramount importance.
To prevent such incidents from recurring, residents said that security checks should continue at subway stations in major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Wuhan.