A lovers' quarrel almost ended in tragedy in the Chinese city of Kunming Friday, caught on camera by a passing photographer.

An unidentified man held a woman said to be his girlfriend out of a third floor window for more than two hours as police tried to talk him down.

He finally agreed to leave the building, but took the woman with him as a hostage, holding a knife to her throat as crowds gathered in the street around the building in the Yunnan provincial capital. In the end, specialist hostage negotiators persuaded the man to give himself up.

Bizarrely, there was a similar, although apparently unrelated, hostage-taking incident in Kunming on December 19, 2005 .

Indeed, Kunming seems to have quite a reputation for hostage-taking, including an incident earlier this month in which a knife-wielding man injured three women before taking a nurse hostage in the French-owned Carrefour supermarket.

That stand-off lasted more than four hours before police tempted the man out with a bowl of soup — and a sniper killed him with a single shot to the temple.

Click here to see the pictures at the Times of London.