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A landlord demanding rent arrears threatened tenants and German police with a whirring chainsaw, a police spokesman said.
The frightened tenants called police to the scene, and the 45-year-old man eventually dropped the chainsaw when the officers showed their guns.
The spokesman said the landlord was apparently trying to collect 13,000 euros ($US17,900) in rent on a flat in the southern town of Burgau.
He was charged with threatening bodily harm.