Police to learn art of hostage negotiation

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 July, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 17 July, 2004, 12:00am

A fatal hostage drama last week in Jilin province has prompted the mainland to start training its first professional hostage negotiators.

The Beijing People's Police College has already enrolled 17 elite police officers to be trained to handle standoffs in the capital and neighbouring cities.

The course includes psychology and negotiation skills and is based on input from top anti-terrorism specialists and language experts.

The need for such training was brought home on July 7, when robbery suspect Chen Haoran , 23, was shot dead by police after a three-hour standoff in a Changchun street.

Chen allegedly refused to release a woman, 30, he was holding at knifepoint.

The woman later died from knife wounds to her neck.

Authorities in Chengdu also plan to recruit psychologists and other experts to establish a team of professional negotiators to cope with a range of public security problems, from hostage situations to suicide attempts.