Russian embassy hostage crisis ends
May 12, 2007 - 8:30:52 AM

San Jose, May 12 - A tense crisis at the Russian embassy in Costa Rica ended without injuries, according to comments by the Russian ambassador in a radio interview.

Eight people were taken hostage Friday evening, apparently by an armed Russian citizen who later turned himself to the police in the Central American country, media reports said.

Earlier reports put the number of hostages at nine, while other sources said there was no hostage crisis at all and the incident - which lasted about four hours - was simply a dispute between two men.

Russian Ambassador Valery Nikolayenko said in the radio interview only he and the consul remained in the embassy while the rest of the employees left by a side exit.

The crisis resulted from an argument over money between two young Russians, including one from a former Soviet republic in Central Asia, Nikolayenko said. The two people were locked in a room inside the complex. The ambassador said he and the consul were trying to mediate the dispute.

Earlier, public safety officials said there was a dispute over issuing of a passport. Police deployed several units to cordon off the area around the embassy, which is located in a residential area in northeastern San Jose.

In July 2004, a Costa Rican security guard tasked with protecting the Chilean Embassy took many personnel hostage and killed three of them before committing suicide.

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