At least 36 people have been found dead inside a resort in Manila, Philippines after a lone gunman set fire to the hotel and casino during an apparent robbery.

Southern Police District Superintendent Tomas Apolinario told CNN that the victims are thought to have died of suffocation rather than gunfire, and that most of the victims – which included 22 guests and 13 employees – were women found dead inside the bathroom. None of them had gunshot wounds.

The suspect entered Resorts World Manila via the second story carpark in the early hours of Friday morning, opening fire and setting gaming tables on fire.

Ronaldo dela Rosa, the director general for the Philippine National Police, told CNN that the suspect “ransacked the storage room of the chips of the casino”, taking about 113 million pesos (AU $3.08 million).

He later committed suicide by self-immolation and self-inflicted gunshot wound.

In a statement, Resorts World Manila called the incident the “cowardly act of a deranged mind.”

“With your prayers, we will overcome this tragedy,” it said.

A further 54 people have were injured in the attack, and have been taken to nearby hospitals.

Despite initial fears, the incident is not believed to be terror related.

Source: CNN.

Photo: Philippine National Police.