It took police in the south-central province of Binh Thuan three hours to capture a mentally ill man who threatened to set off five cooking gas cylinders at a bus station if police did not give him a car and a child hostage.
Nguyen Thanh Phuong, 39, was traveling on a bus and appeared to be normal until the bus stopped at a terminal in Binh Thuan just before 1 a.m. Wednesday.
The police are asking his family from Dong Thap Province in the Mekong Delta to bring him home because of his mental illness.
The commune police had been summoned after Phuong stole a knife from a restaurant kitchen in the bus station and threatened people.
When they arrived, he ran into the kitchen and cut a gas cylinder pipe. Gas was flowing out and with a lighter in his hand, he threatened to ignite it if the police did not bring him a boy as a hostage and a getaway car with a full tank.
At this point officers called the district police.
The restaurant was cleared of passengers and workers.
A police officer told news website VnExpress: "We tried to calm him down, pretending to agree to his demands so that he would not turn the lighter on."
When some officers were negotiating with the man, others secretly moved other gas cylinders to safety. There were nine cylinders in the kitchen.
But Phuong still managed to cut the pipe on four others.
It ended in an anticlimax when, after waiting for three hours and not having his demands met, Phuong decided to set off an explosion: the lighter failed to go off.
He himself became sick from all the liquefied petroleum gas that had been leaking and was rushed to a nearby hospital.
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