TAIPEI (Reuters) - Six inmates who seized weapons from the armoury at a Taiwan jail and took the warden and top guard hostage have committed suicide after an overnight standoff, a senior official said on Thursday.
The hostages, including Warden Chen Shih-chih and head guard Wang Shih-tsang, left the prison safely.
"The six inmates all committed suicide," Deputy Justice Minister Chen Ming-tang said in comments broadcast on Taiwanese television, adding they had shot themselves.
Media reports said the prisoners in the port city of Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan pretended to seek medical attention on Wednesday afternoon and took several guards hostage as they attempted to escape. They took rifles, pistols and bullets from the prison armoury.
Chen, the warden, and top guard Wang exchanged themselves for the other hostages.
Authorities attempted to negotiate with the hostage takers, all serving sentences of 10 years or more, while hundreds of armed police surrounded the prison.
Writing by John Ruwitch; Editing by Jeremy Laurence