2020 Greenhills hostage crisis

On March 2, 2020, 40-year-old Archie Paray, who worked as a security guard at the Greenhills shopping mall complex in Greenhills, San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines took 55 people hostage at the administration office on the second floor of the Virra Mall. Paray was an employee of Safeguard Armor Security Corporation (SASCOR), and believed he was a subject of unjust termination. During the standoff, Paray demanded authorities to air his grievance against his former employers. Only one person was injured during the incident, and Paray was arrested after he freed the hostages.[1]

2020 Greenhills hostage crisis
Greenhills hostage crisis.jpg
The Virra Mall at the Greenhills Shopping Mall under police lockdown during the hostage taking.
LocationVirra Mall, Greenhills Shopping Center, Greenhills, San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines
Coordinates14°36′08.4″N 121°03′00.3″E / 14.602333°N 121.050083°E / 14.602333; 121.050083Coordinates: 14°36′08.4″N 121°03′00.3″E / 14.602333°N 121.050083°E / 14.602333; 121.050083
DateMarch 2, 2020 (PST, UTC+8)
Attack type
Hostage taking
Victims55 captives not including the sole injury
PerpetratorArchie Paray
MotiveAlleged corruption and labor practice of the hostage taker's former employer



Archie Paray
Alchie Paray y Pedraza[2]
OccupationSecurity guard (formerly)

Archie Paray is a 40-year-old man who previously worked as a security guard at the Virra Mall as an employee under SASCOR.

There were varying accounts regarding the circumstances of his employment with SASCOR. Paray expressed his belief that he was a subject of unjust termination. SASCOR general manager Oscar Hernandez disputed the claims, saying that Paray was not dismissed from employment and was supposed to be reassigned to a different location as part of the company's policy of rotating security guards.[3]

During the hostage taking, Paray maintained contact with local authorities and the media through his mobile phone and a walkie-talkie.[4]

Hostage takingEdit

Members of the SWAT division of the Philippine National Police taking position at the hostage taking site.

The hostage crisis began when Paray, armed with a .45 caliber pistol, entered the employees' entrance of the Virra Mall at around 11:14 am. Paray was confronted by a security officer, who he promptly shot twice. The wounded officer was immediately rushed to a hospital as Paray took people at the finance office as hostages. At 11:22 am, the Greenhill management contacted the San Juan city police and within three minutes city police chief Colonel Jimmy Santos, a SWAT team, and other officials arrived at the scene.[5]

Paray threatened to kill the hostages and made his first demand: to have all security guards of the mall gather outside the mall. He later demanded to be given media presence. At around 12:30 pm, the police set up a command post inside the Greenhills chapel. The mall was placed under lock down at around 1 pm. At that time the incident was being reported as a shooting incident with the police not yet officially confirming that a hostage taking was underway. San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora and National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Debold Sinas arrived at the hostage taking site. At 2:30 pm, the Greenhills management issued a statement publicly confirming the then-ongoing hostage taking.[5] Despite the closure, several onlookers still managed to gather at the site to film the incident live and give updates about the situation online.[2]

The police began setting up a press conference at 4 pm as part of fulfilling one of the demands of the hostage taker. An hour later, the media was brought in the Greenhills shopping mall complex for a briefing with the police. A video call was made by a police officer to confirm the attendance of representatives of the media including reporters from CNN, GMA, ABS-CBN, and TV5, and representatives from Paray's former employer, SASCOR.[5]

At 6 pm, six SASCOR officials publicly announced their intention to resign from their post in a bid to appease Paray. In response, Paray demanded that two of them eat ₱2,500 in front of the media. He offered one condition that must be fulfilled to drop that particular demand: for the police to plead with him via the media to not force the act on his two former bosses, a demand with which the police complied.[5]

The hostages were freed at around 8:16 pm.[6] Paray, initially thought to be unarmed, exited with the hostages. Paray then proceeded to air his grievances against his former employers on national television for 20 minutes before the police managed to arrest him at around 8:45 pm.[5]


The only injury was the security guard who confronted Paray at the start of the incident. The guard, who was shot twice, was rushed to the Cardinal Santos Medical Center, and was reported to be in stable condition. The 55 hostages were all released unharmed.[5][7]


Archie Paray was charged with frustrated murder, illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, illegal possession of explosives, and serious illegal detention.[8] The police were able to confiscate a .45 caliber pistol, sixteen rounds of ammunition, and a tactical knife from Paray. Paray was also tested for illegal drugs, but the results were negative.[9]

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) was urged to investigate labor-related issues raised by Paray. Senator Joel Villanueva[10] and labor group Defend Jobs Philippines[11] were among those which urged DOLE to launch an investigation. Villanueva condemned the hostage taking and expressed the need to only issue security guard licenses to individuals with "tough mental disposition".[10]

The Philippine National Police placed SASCOR under investigation over the incident.[9]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Talabong, Rambo. "Dozens held hostage at Greenhills mall, ex-guard armed with gun, grenades". Rappler. Retrieved 2020-03-02.
  2. ^ a b Madarang, Catalina Ricci (3 March 2020). "'Only in the Philippines': Hostage crisis in the age of live-streaming". InterAksyon. Retrieved 5 March 2020.
  3. ^ Gregorio, Xave (2 March 2020). "Greenhills hostage standoff ends after ten hours with one hurt". CNN Philippines. Retrieved 5 March 2020.
  4. ^ "Manila mall hostage-taker surrenders after shooting ex-colleague". Al Jazeera. 2 March 2020. Retrieved 5 March 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Abad, Michelle (3 March 2020). "Timeline: Hostage-taking incident in Greenhills mall". Rappler. Retrieved 5 March 2020.
  6. ^ Caliwan, Christopher Lloyd (2 March 2020). "Gunman releases hostages, yields to police". Philippine News Agency. Retrieved 5 March 2020.
  7. ^ Casinas, Jhon Aldrin (3 March 2020). "Negotiator in Greenhills incident redeems himself with successful conclusion to hostage drama". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved 5 March 2020.
  8. ^ Acosta, Rene (3 March 2020). "Security guard in San Juan mall hostage drama to face multiple raps". BusinessMirror. Retrieved 5 March 2020.
  9. ^ a b "PNP to probe agency of guard in San Juan mall hostage-taking". The Manila Times. 3 March 2020. Retrieved 5 March 2020.
  10. ^ a b Magsino, Dona (3 March 2020). "Sen. Villanueva urges DOLE to look into mall hostage taker's grievances". GMA News. Retrieved 5 March 2020.
  11. ^ "Workers group urges probe into disgruntled guard's allegations vs security agency". The Philippine Star. 3 March 2020. Retrieved 5 March 2020.