Asia-Pacific

Australia police end Parramatta hostage drama

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Media captionThe BBC's Duncan Kennedy said the man has now been taken into custody and his daughter released unharmed

Australian police have ended an 11-hour hostage drama by storming a law office where a man claimed he had a bomb in his backpack.

The man made the threat after walking into the office in Sydney's Parramatta suburb with his 12-year-old daughter.

But police moved in after talks with the man broke down, charging into the building using a battering ram.

The girl ran out of the building in tears and was taken to hospital for a check-up. The man has been arrested.

The police have not said whether an explosive device has been found, and they have not released details of the man's grievances. Officers had said earlier that they believed the girl was in danger.

Barrister's wig

New South Wales deputy police chief Denis Clifford told journalists that negotiations with the man had "started to break down and then deteriorate to a stage where police have taken action to break into the premises".

Image caption Reports speculated that the man was involved in a custody battle or some other legal case

He said they had taken a 52-year-old man into custody, and that he was "assisting police with their ongoing inquires".

The legal office is next to the court building that deals with family cases, but officials say there is no record of the man having appeared at the court.

A receptionist at the office said the man walked into the building at 09:00 (23:00 GMT on Monday) and gave her the name of someone he wanted to speak to.

"When I told him there was no-one here by the name, he went to the front of the building and said: 'Call the attorney-general's department, call this person, and tell them I've got a bomb in my backpack,'" she told ABC News.

The man later smashed one of the office's windows, and held up pieces of paper with messages on them.

He was also seen with a barrister's wig, which he spat on and threw at the window.

The authorities sealed off the area, and fire engines and ambulance crews were on standby in the street outside.

It is the second bomb-related scare the Sydney authorities have had to face in recent weeks.

A teenager had a fake bomb attached to her neck by an attacker at her home three weeks ago, in an apparent extortion attempt.

A suspect was detained in the US, and is awaiting extradition to Australia.

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