CHINA> Regional
Xinjiang police shoot dead hostage-taker
(China Daily)
Updated: 2008-10-10 08:39

Police in northwest China shot and killed a man holding six saleswomen hostage at knifepoint in a grocery store robbery early on Thursday morning.

All of the women were released without injury after the three-hour ordeal in Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. But police said one woman was hospitalised for psychological trauma.

Xiong Dali, political instructor with the patrol police detachment of the Urumqi security bureau, said the young man entered the downtown store on Xingfu Road posing as a shopper as the store readied to close at 12:30 am.

When staff asked him to leave at 1 am, he pulled a knife and commanded the staff to kneel on the floor, and to hand over their cash and phones.

When one of the women tried reasoning with the man, he noticed people gathering outside the store's glass doors and put a knife to her throat.

One of the saleswomen's mothers, who had come to pick up her daughter, called the police.

Leader of the patrol police's third team Li Gang said they dispatched both special and patrol police to the scene.

They tried to persuade the man to release the women over the phone. Four hostages escaped through the store's back door while he was distracted with negotiations.

A top negotiator entered the store to talk with the man and persuaded him to release another woman through the front door. But the man insisted on keeping the last hostage.

He later became agitated and piled towels on the counter, shouting he would burn the store down and kill the woman. Police shot him dead at 4:10 am, Li said.

The man had identified himself to the negotiator as Ili, Xinjiang, native Yang Xinjiang. He said his ancestry traced back to Sichuan province and his parents were divorced.

An investigation found no records of anyone named Yang Xinjiang, and police believed the name was fabricated. His identity was still unknown, a police spokesman said.