The operation, which lasted almost six hours and saw three suspects shot dead, was captured on film and posted online by web users.

Local news reported that the officers came to arrest members of a gang suspected of robbing and seriously injuring a group of Chinese businessmen, one of whom died. Three of the 11 suspected gang members, aged in their mid-twenties and believed to be of Arabic origin, were hiding in the residence. All three were killedin the incident, which took place March 14, 2009.

This post was compiled with help from one of our Observers for Russia, Ostap Karmodi

"As far as I can see […] the criminals have barricaded themselves inside"

An amateur photographer posted this eyewitness account on LiveJournal. Images were uploaded by web users and posted on English Russia and independent city site VL.RU.

11:53 am, Vladivostok time.

I live in a house across the road and I've been observing since 7:30 am.

The police have come and told us to keep away from the windows and refrain from taking photos.

12:10 pm

There are about 15 people on the roof, tied on with ropes. They have weights with them for some peculiar reason, of an old, Soviet type, from briefcases.

12:33 pm

The assault has started! They're shooting. There's been an explosion; my windows are shaking. The apartment they're targeting is on the 5th floor. The balcony is already destroyed, the windows are broken.

13:09 pm

As far as I can see, the balcony is completely broken, but the criminals have barricaded themselves inside. They threw hand grenades on to the roof, so the SWAT had to keep off the edge.

13:19

The SWAT have thrown a smoke bomb into the apartment. The smoke was white at first, then black. Two people went out to the balcony. (...)

The SWAT shot at them from the roof. The two guys are shooting back, quite fiercely. I can hear machine guns firing. That's it: two corpses. Just now: a fierce explosion, my windows are shaking. A second one! It seems that the SWAT has thrown another hand grenade into the apartment. There's probably somebody else there.

13:25 pm


Several more explosions and shooting.

13:49

They're all dead. I can see two corpses on the balcony. There's fire in the apartment, seems as though the one next door is on fire as well. Firefighters are working on it, though they have just one hose. Police with sniffer dogs have arrived. The road is closed with tape.

13:51

That's it. I bid everybody farewell."

Footage filmed by neighbours

Posted on YouTube by "valiaciklib" March 14, 2009. The video was also posted on independent city website VL.RU.

Posted on YouTube by "rminform" on March 14, 2009. The amateur video was picked up by tabloid newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda's website KP.RU.