Still the number of gunman who shaped the hostage and number of people inside the Lindt Chocolate Cafe in Martin Place in Sydney are matter of speculation. However, Catherine Burn, New South Wales Deputy Police Commissioner said that the number of hostages is not as high as 30. This is in contrary to earlier media reports speculating about 30 customers and 10 employees inside the café.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the café has been under siege of at least one gunman. It also reported that at least three hostages, including two customers and an employee, were seen running from the café.
More recently, Sky News reported two women, both of whom likely to be café workers, to be running away from the café. So the number of hostages escaping from the café now reaches five.
Australian police reported negotiators had been able to approach and contact with the gunman, but refused to speculate on possible motivation.
Senior producer with Channel 7 News Investigation, Glenn Connley told BBC that the Lindt café is just across his office with windows looking into the café. Somebody from his office noticed people in the café being forced to hands up against the window. Initially they thought it to be armed robbery but then a black flag appeared in the window, highlighting a different motive altogether.
Connley also moved close to the café, about 100 meters away from the main door, with a cameraman. The group of hostages looked very frightened. They were able to notice one gunman wearing a white shirt and a gun over his shoulder. He appeared to be using somebody as a shield. However, very soon police moved them back.
It’s more than seven hours of hostage crisis in Sydney. Meanwhile, the police have also reported a suspicious item on a train on the North Shore rail line. Following the report, the train was cleared of passengers at a nearby station.