Taiwanese police fired more than 3,000 bullets during a massive operation to capture the alleged boss of a kidnap gang, but despite the deployment of 1,000 officers the wanted man escaped with an accomplice. The drama began at 2am yesterday when 200 police officers raided a house in southern Kaohsuing county, where the fugitive, identified as Chang Hsi-min, was holed up with three of his gang. The heavily armed gang members exchanged fire with police in a six-hour series of gunfights, during which another 800 officers converged on the hideout. Four officers were injured, but not critically, during the shooting. Chang is suspected of masterminding a series of kidnappings of businessmen and students. He has been on Taiwan's wanted list for more than six months. Police said seven separate gun battles occurred between officers and the fugitives, who had hand grenades and machine guns. The gun battles began at the house but Chang and an accomplice, identified as Chen Chinhsiung, fled to a nearby factory, leaving two others at the house who continued exchanging gunfire with police. The two accomplices, idenfitifed as Lin Kuo-chung and Lee Chin-cheng later surrendered after Lin was shot by police. The gun battles continued as police pursued Chang and Chen to the factory, but the pair fled again to a plantation, throwing three hand grenades at police as he escaped. At the plantation, the pair took hostage an old farmer who was riding by on a bicycle. The pair then hijacked a passing car driven by a security guard, and set the farmer free. Police later found the security guard, who was unhurt, and his car in Tainan county, about 45 minutes drive from Kaohsiung. They defended their failure to catch the fugitives. 'The predawn sky was still dark and the suspects were wearing outfits similar to those of police,' an officer said. Scenes of the dramatic shootout and hijacking were captured by Taiwanese television. An M16 rifle, two pistols, two grenades, six bulletproof vests, several hundred rounds of bullets and NT$7 million (HK$1.6 million) were seized.