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Shots fired during siege of Chinese Consulate in Sydney

(Xinhua)

13:57, December 30, 2011

Sydney, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- A fleeing robber that caused a six- hour siege around the Chinese Consulate in Sydney has been arrested early on Friday.

Residents of Sydney's Camperdown were awoken at about two O' clock in the morning to the sound of gunfire as an alleged gang of thieves attempted to rob the Alfred Hotel, a popular late night hotel, close to the University of Sydney.

Police from the Newtown Local Area Command working in unison with emergency response and tactical units cordoned off the area, after at least one of the suspects reportedly had fled into the nearby Chinese Consulate.

Federal police were immediately notified due to the national security breach and Camperdown was quickly transformed into a tightly-locked militarized zone.

Liu Kan, Chinese Deputy Consul-General in Sydney told Xinhua that the Chinese side gave a nodding to local police's request to search for the suspect in the consulate compound in which only some blood stains allegedly left by the robber were found. The suspect was caught later somewhere outside the compound.

Liu said that shots were fired by the police during the course of pursuit.

According to the police, the suspect who holed-up in the heavily guarded consulate was taken into custody after a standoff which lasted for nearly six hours. An accomplice was also arrested outside the hotel near St Alfred's Hospital. "I clearly heard several cracks, like fireworks.. at first I thought it was just some kind of New Year celebrations," Jonathon Wainwright, a student and local resident told Xinhua. "But when I looked out the window this morning, it was like something out of a Hollywood film." He said.

The special response unit and the highly-trained Dog Squad were called in to the scene and ambulances have been reported ferrying in and out of Missendon Road. However, aside from the suspect who sustained minor cuts and were taken into custody at around 7 a.m., there have been no reports of injuries.

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