TBILISI -- A manhunt continues in Georgia, one day after an armed robber took hostages at a bank in the western city of Zugdidi and escaped with an unspecified amount of cash.
The Georgian Interior Ministry said on October 22 that all the hostages were released and a special operation to locate and apprehend the perpetrator is underway.
A masked gunman wearing military fatigues took up to 19 people hostage at a branch of the Bank of Georgia in Zugdidi on October 21.
After an hours-long standoff with police that stretched into the evening, the gunman left the building and took three hostages with him.
The gunman reportedly demanded $500,000 and a guarantee to leave the area safely.
Television stations appeared to show the gunman carrying a grenade and a backpack reportedly filled with cash while leaving the bank with a hostage.
Rustavi-2 television channel reported on October 22 that the robber released the last of his hostages in a forest near a village in the municipality of Chkhorotsqu.
The Interior Ministry said it has launched a probe into the incident.