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"Disgruntled" former guard holds 30 people hostage in Manila shopping mall

17:17 | 02/03/2020

A man was shot and about 30 people taken hostage on Monday (Mar 2) by a "disgruntled" ex-security guard at a shopping mall in Manila, the capital of the Philippines.

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disgruntled former guard holds 30 people hostage in manila shopping mall
The mayor of a section of Manila has told journalists that a security guard was holding up to 30 people in an administrative office and had shot at least one person. (Photo: AFP/Ted Aljibe)

Workers and customers were evacuated from the V-Mall shopping centre in the Greenhills area of San Juan, Manila, after gunshots rang out and officers wielding assault rifles rushed to the scene.

A SWAT team was seen entering the four-storey mall, which has more than 100 outlets. Shoppers were evacuated and a security cordon established around it.

San Juan city mayor Francis Zamora said the former security guard was holding the hostages in an administrative office in the mall and had shot at least one person.

"He is carrying a pistol. He is shouting he has a grenade but we don't have any way to confirm that for sure," said Zamora.

"There is already one (person) that was shot already a while ago and has been rushed to hospital," he said, adding that the victim was in stable condition.

Authorities have begun negotiating with the gunman, who demanded to speak with other guards and the media. The ex-guard, the mayor said, was sacked by the company that provides security for the mall.

"He was trying initially to get the other guards to join him for some sort of coup d'etat against the mall management," he told news channel ANC.

"We'll do our best to settle this issue peacefully," Zamora said, adding the hostage taker was upset over his treatment by his employer.

disgruntled former guard holds 30 people hostage in manila shopping mall
Members of a police SWAT team take positions outside one of the entrances to a mall after a hostage situation was reported in suburban Manila, Mar 2, 2020. (Photo: AFP/Ted Aljibe)

Witness John Paul Buenavista told AFP he saw a wounded person - a guard at the mall - being put into a wheelchair and whisked away.

"We heard three gunshots. Then we saw people running, saying they saw someone getting shot," he said.

In a video posted on Twitter, members of the media were seen speaking to the hostage-taker on the phone and asking him to confirm how many hostages he was holding.

The hostage-taker did not confirm the number, but acceded to a request to show the situation of the hostages.

According to an ABS-CBN photographer at the scene, police officers and passers-by were huddled at the mall's entrance.

Doors to the mall were sealed off as authorities started evacuating the building, the photographer added./.

VNF/CNA/AFP