06/07/2007

China: Hostage-taker holds 3-year-old at knifepoint

By CHRISTOPHER BODEEN
The Associated Press

SHANGHAI, China — Police shot and killed a man who had held a 3-year-old girl at knifepoint for more than six hours at a KFC restaurant Wednesday, state media reported.

Shanghai Television news said the man, who may have had mental problems, was killed at 9:35 p.m. and the girl was unharmed.

More than 100 police and a large crowd of about 800 spectators converged on the fast- food restaurant in the Putuo district after the man grabbed the toddler about 3 p.m., the station said.

After the shooting, police could be seen collecting evidence in the restaurant and putting up white boards inside its windows to prevent people from looking in.

An earlier broadcast said officers believed the man, who was in his 40s, had mental problems because he demanded two large bouquets of flowers and later requested a taxi. The man's family was at the scene trying to help officers convince him to release the girl, it said.

The child's mother was in the restaurant when the girl was taken hostage but later was evacuated by police, according to the report.

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