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Man claims bomb in Australian hostage standoff
Man who claims to have a bomb holds daughter in hostage standoff in Australian court complex
By The Associated Press

SYDNEY (AP) ' A man claiming to have a bomb in his backpack and accompanied by his young daughter triggered a hostage standoff Tuesday at an Australian court complex, a witness said.

Court clerk Betty Hor said she was working at the reception desk of the building in western Sydney suburb of Parramatta when the man and the girl, aged about 10 or 11, approached on Tuesday morning and asked to see a man whom Hor had never heard of.

Hor left the area briefly then returned to the reception desk where the man repeated his request. She repeated that she had never heard of anyone with that name.

Hor said he then threw a book on the desk and told her to call the unknown man and the state attorney-general's department and "tell them I've got a bomb in my backpack."

Hor called police as the man walked with the girl, who called him "Dad," to a lawyer's office.

Hor said he seemed frustrated and angry.

Police said in a statement it was not known why the man entered the complex, which houses family and criminal court rooms, or "what he is in possession of."

Television footage showed the man looking from a second-floor window shirtless and wearing the same kind of wig as worn in Australian courts by judges and lawyers. Police maintained a cordon around the building. At one stage he spat on the wig.

Ambulance service spokeswoman Caroline Woods said several ambulances were waiting at the scene but would not say what was happening there.

A fire truck was also seen waiting near the building.

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