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Taiwan prison siege ends after 6 hostage-takers ‘commit suicide’

A 14-hour siege at a prison in southern Taiwan came to an abrupt end early Thursday morning when all six hostage-takers committed suicide by shooting themselves, state-run media reported, citing the island's ministry of justice.

The siege began at around 4 p.m. local time on Wednesday when six inmates - including a convicted murderer and a robber - took several hostages inside the prison in Kaohsiung after they seized rifles and handguns from the facility's armory. They demanded a safe exit from the prison in exchange for the release of the hostages, a warden and a head guard.

The six inmates had previously protested alleged mistreatment and unfair trials, local media reported.

Hundreds of heavily-armed security forces surrounded the prison in anticipation of a possible exchange of fire, but the crisis ended in the early morning hours of Thursday when all six hostage-takers committed suicide by shooting themselves, the justice ministry claimed, though it provided no evidence.

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