Shanghai police freed a waitress taken hostage by a mentally-disabled man early on Wednesday.
The hostage taking happened around 9:45 a.m. in a Chinese fast-food restaurant in the downtown Xuhui District. The man, surnamed Wu, walked into the restaurant kitchen, suddenly grabbed a knife and held the waitress at knife-point.
Police officers tried to coax him into dropping the knife but the man only became more disturbed. Officers then managed to get the knife and apprehended him after a 30-minute standoff.
Wu, a 35-year-old from the central Hunan Province, arrived in Shanghai on Monday. He is mentally disabled according to his family, police said.
The local Xinmin website quoted Shanghai residents as describing Wu as an outgoing waiter who had returned to demand unpaid wages. But police denied the report and said the man had no connections with the restaurant.
In another hostage-taking incidents six months ago, police shot and killed a man who held a three-year-old girl at knife-point for more than six hours at a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet in the city's Putuo District.
(Xinhua News Agency February 14, 2008)