Addicts escape from Vietnam detox center

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More than sixty drug addicts at a detoxification center in Ho Chi Minh City managed to escape Monday night after some of them staged a quarrel.

A total of 103 people escaped from the Vocational Center for Youth No.2 at first, but about 40 were brought back to a rehabilitation center in neighboring Binh Duong Province for punishment as of Tuesday afternoon.

Preliminary investigations show that some students at the center in Cu Chi District pretended to quarrel among themselves at around 7p.m. Monday. Some of them used iron bars used for weight-lifting to break down windows and a door. Then they asked many other students to tie clothes, nets and blankets into strings to climb out and escape.

The center’s officials cooperated with local police, the city’s Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs and local residents to try and apprehend the escapees.

Forces have been stationed around the center, and at strategic points on roads and waterways to look out for the escaped addicts.

Nguyen Van Minh, deputy director of the HCMC Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, said many of addicts, aged between 19 and 22, had already stayed at the center for 17 months. It was time for them to leave, but their families kept delaying or refusing to take them back.

The students must have been angry, Minh said.

An investigation has been launched into the breakout.

Similar attempts have occurred at the center in 2003 and 2005. Both times, the addicts were all apprehended and brought back shortly after their escape.

Reported by Dam Huy

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