Natural Born Killers

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TAIPEI, Taiwan: Paging John Woo ... It may read like the plot of a low-budget Hong Kong action flick, but for South African diplomat Mac Alexander and his family, Wednesday's hostage drama in Taipei was way too real. They had been relaxing at home Tuesday evening when in burst Taiwan's most wanted killer, wounding the diplomat and his daughter and taking the family hostage.

In an extended telephone interview broadcast live from the diplomat's apartment, the killer Chen Chin-hsing confessed to a number of murders and to helping his accomplice, Kao Tien-min, kill a plastic surgeon and a nurse they had hired to alter Kao's appearance.

Kao was killed Monday night in a shoot-out with hundreds of police who'd been tipped off about his presence in a massage parlor.

The Alexanders were later released and Chen surrendered. No word yet on the film rights, but spare a thought for the diplomat's wife: She said afterwards she had remained calm by playing computer games and watching TV. And with every channel running live coverage of the hostage situation, remaining calm must have been some feat.