2020 Greenhills hostage crisis
On March 2, 2020, a former security guard who worked at the Greenhills shopping mall complex in San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines took about 30 people hostage, particularly at the administration office on the second floor of the Virra Mall. The perpetrator was identified as Archie Paray, a 40-year-old man who guarded the mall as an employee of Safeguard Armor Security Corporation (SASCOR) who successfully demanded authorities to air his grievance against his former employers. Paray killed none and injured one person during the hostage incident and was arrested after he freed the hostages.
|2020 Greenhills hostage crisis|
The Virra Mall at the Greenhills Shopping Mall under police lockdown during the hostage taking.
|Location||Virra Mall, Greenhills, San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines|
|Date||March 2, 2020 (PST, UTC+8)|
|Victims||55 captives not including the sole injury|
|Motive||Alleged corruption and labor practice of the hostage taker's former employer|
Alchie Paray y Pedraza
|Occupation||Security guard (formerly)|
Archie Paray is the perpetrator of the hostage taking incident on March 2, 2020 at the Virra Mall at the Greenhills shopping mall complex. He is a 40-year-old man who previously worked as a security guard in the shopping mall complex as an employee under Safeguard Armor Security Corporation (SASCOR).
There were varying accounts regarding the circumstances of his employment with SASCOR. Paray has expressed belief that he was a subject of unjust termination while SASCOR general manager Oscar Hernandez disputed the claim 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.
The hostage crisis, began when Archie Paray entered the employees' entrance of the Virra Mall at around 11:14 am. Paray was confronted by a security officer who he immediately preceded to shoot with a gun. The wounded officer was immediately rushed to a hospital and 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 along with other officials arrived at the scene.
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 12:30pm, the police set up a command post inside the Greenhills chapel. The V-Mall was placed under lock down at around 1pm. 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 2:30pm the Greenhills management issued a statement publicly confirming the then-ongoing hostage taking. Despite the closure, several onlookers still managed to gather at the site to film the incident live and give updates about the situation online.
The police began setting up a press conference at 4pm 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.
At 6pm, six SASCOR officials publicly announced their intention to resign from their post in a bid to appease Paray. Paray in response demanded that two of them eat ₱2,500 in front of the media. The hostage taker 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.
The hostages were freed at around 8:16pm. 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 8:45pm.
The hostage crisis saw only one injury, that of a security officer who was rushed to the Cardinal Santos Medical Center after he was shot by the hostage taker. The officer was shot twice but is reportedly in stable condition. 55 other people were taken hostage by Paray.
Archie Paray will be facing charges of frustrated murder, illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, illegal possession of explosives, and serious illegal detention over his involvement as the perpetrator of the hostage taking incident at Greenhills. The police were able to confiscate a .45 caliber pistol, 16 rounds of ammunition, and a tactical knife from Paray. Paray was also tested for illegal drugs, but the results were negative.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) was urged to investigate labor-related issues raised by the Greenhills hostage taker. Senator Joel Villanueva and labor group Defend Jobs Philippines were among those which urged the agency to launch an investigation. Despite his support of a probe to look into the hostage taker's allegations, Villanueva condemned the hostage taking and expressed the need to only issue security guard licenses to individuals with "tough mental disposition".
The Philippine National Police has placed SASCOR under investigation over the hostage taking incident.
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