Six inmates led by a mob boss committed suicide at a prison in Taiwan early Thursday after a failed breakout attempt in which they seized weapons and held a warden and guards hostage, officials said. All the hostages were released.
The inmates started their attempt Wednesday afternoon in the southern port city of Kaohsiung. In a telephone interview with a newspaper during the overnight standoff, the 46-year-old ringleader said the six had long planned the move and were prepared to die. He also complained about long sentences and unfairness in the granting of medical paroles.
Deputy Justice Minister Chen Ming-tang said officials rejected the group’s demands for safe passage out of the prison and had tried to convince them to surrender peacefully during hours of negotiations.
“We tried to give them assurances so they wouldn’t do something stupid and to reconsider, but sadly they committed suicide and we feel deep regret,” Chen told a news conference in Taipei.
The ministry said Deputy Warden Lai Chen-jung and head guard Wang volunteered to swap with the two guards who were initially taken hostage. Later, Chen, the prison warden, offered to exchange with Lai as a hostage.
Writers Ian Mader, Christopher Bodeen and Didi Tang in Beijing contributed.Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.