Ho Chi Minh City police rescued a woman on Friday afternoon after using tear gas to flush her abductor out of a barricaded room.
The story began at 6am that morning when an alleged methamphetamine addict named Le Van Tuan, 31, began beating his lover in their rented room in an alley off of TTH22 Road in Tan Thoi Hiep Ward.
Tuan's father claimed the fight began when his son asked his girlfriend for money and was refused.
Tuoi Tre newspaper reported that Tuan had demanded VND20 million (nearly US$1,000) from a man believed to be his girlfriend's ex-husband, but when the money was brought over in a bag, he refused to open the door.
Eyewitnesses said the ex-husband arrived at the scene claiming to be the woman’s husband and threatening to call the police inspiring Tuan to press a knife to Chi’s neck and warn people to stay away or he would kill her.
Tuan called a taxi before noon but decided not to take the vehicle when the cab arrived fearing there were police inside.
A police officer said they intended to break down the door after they failed to persuade Tuan to give up his hostage, but pulled back after he threatened to detonate a container of cooking gas, noting that the sound of the gas being released into the room inspired police to call in firefighters.
At 2:45pm, a special response team fired tear gas through an open window before overpowering Tuan and taking him out into the street.
Colonel Nguyen Huu Song, the head of the District 12 Police Department said they had completely secured the site by 3pm.
The rescue drew a massive crowd of onlookers that police ordered to disperse--to no avail.
The police took Tuan's alleged victim, identified only as Chi, 38, to the police station for questioning.
There, she told them that they both have other families, but have been living together for six months during which his cravings for meth had inspired him to beat her on several occasions.
It’s not clear if either Tuan or Chi have officially divorced their previous spouses.
Police are investigating whether the standoff was sparked by a lover's quarrel or was staged to extort ransom from the man suspected of being Chi’s ex-husband.
Police say that Tuan, who was born in the Mekong Delta’s An Giang Province, has been addicted to meth for three years.
Le Van Dac, Tuan's 59-year-old father, said his son had recently pawned his motorbike.
He said Tuan had lived with five other women but was never married.
Tuan’s mother, who has heart condition, fainted when she learned of his act and remains under special care.
Both parents claimed to have been beaten by their son.