Police often train to recover hostages taken by force, as in this exercise.

A hostage is a person seized by an abductor in order to compel another party such as a relative, employer, law enforcement or government to act, or refrain from acting, in a certain way, often under threat of serious physical harm or death to the hostage(s) after expiration of an ultimatum. The Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition (1910-1911) defines a hostage as "a person who is handed over by one of two belligerent parties to the other or seized as security for the carrying out of an agreement, or as a preventive measure against certain acts of war."[1] Hostage taking is now considered a criminal activity.

A person who seizes one or more hostages is known as a hostage-taker; if the hostages are present voluntarily, then the receiver is known as a host.

Taking a hostage in a bank robbery in Lisbon, Portugal.
(Video) Police demonstrate hostage response techniques in Japan.
  1. ^ One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Hostage". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 13 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 801–802.

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