Gangsters with AK-47s hold 9 hostages at car dealership in N. Taiwan

Gangsters release hostages after tense 5-hour standoff with police at car dealership in Taoyuan, Taiwan

Gunman (left). (Taoyuan Police Department image)

Gunman (left). (Taoyuan Police Department image)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Two gangsters terrorized the city of Taoyuan Wednesday night (June 13) during a tense 5-hour standoff with police as they took nine people hostage at a used car dealership.

According to Taoyuan Police, two suspects surnamed Lin (林) armed with AK-47 automatic rifles, handguns, and grenades suddenly burst into a used car dealership at 5:50 p.m. on Wednesday evening, reported CNA. The gunmen immediately took a total of nine salesmen and employees of the dealership hostage at gunpoint.

The two men had been involved in a shooting at a motel last month and are known members of the Tiandao Triad Justice League (天道盟正義會), reported UDN. Local media reported that the men entered the dealership demanding money from a debt dispute, and when an employee left to collect money, he alerted police, who rushed to the scene.

Tense scene outside of used car dealership last night. (CNA photo)

At 7 p.m., nearby residents heard two shots fired, and another shot was heard at 8:42 p.m., according to UDN. At 9:18 p.m., seven gunshots were heard being fired, reported Apple Daily.

Witnesses on the scene believed that a police officer had been shot, but authorities later said that no officers had been injured.

After intense negotiations with police, the gunmen released two female clerks at 7 p.m., while relatives of the suspects were brought in to try to persuade them to surrender. During the negotiations, at around 10 p.m., the police sent in lunch boxes and smoothies to try to smooth things over, reported Liberty Times.

At 10:30 p.m., three male employees were released and at 10:55 p.m. the four remaining hostages were freed and three pistols were handed in. At 11:20 the suspects handed over the last two rifles, finally ending the standoff.

National Police Agency Director-General Chen Ja-chin (陳家欽) arrives on the scene. (CNA photo)