6 Inmates Kill Themselves After Prison Siege
Taiwan prisoners traded hostage guard for warden
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 12, 2015 12:24 AM CST
Police gather outside the prison in Kaohsiung, Taiwan last night.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – After a desperate attempt to get out of prison alive failed, six inmates in Taiwan took the only other way out, authorities say. According to officials in Kaohsiung, the six men, led by a senior member of the United Bamboo triad gang, killed themselves at the end of a 14-hour standoff in which they took two guards hostage and seized four rifles and six handguns from the prison's weapons cache, the BBC reports. During the standoff, the inmates agreed to exchange the two hostages for the prison's warden and head guard, who had volunteered to take the places of the guards the inmates seized after faking illness yesterday.

The men, who were all serving sentences of 25 years to life for crimes including murder, had demanded safe passage out of the prison and complained about issues including low prison wages. They also complained about the release last month of former president Chen Shui-bian after just six years of a 20-year sentence for corruption, the BBC reports. According to the Diplomat, the only request authorities honored was one for two bottles of liquor, made when the men released their hostages just before dawn today. Officials say the men then turned the guns on themselves, with four killing themselves first and the remaining two firing bullets into their bodies before shooting themselves, reports the AP, which notes that authorities didn't offer any video or other proof of the suicides.