Hai Phong police arrested three men accused of inciting nearly 400 others to escape a compulsory rehabilitation center in the northern port city on September 14.
Nguyen Huu Dang, 27, Nguyen Van Trieu, 26 and Pham Van Chung, 28--all patients of the Gia Minh Drug Rehabilitation Center--are being investigated on charges of causing a public nuisance.
Police said the trio incited others to escape by striking down the center's gate at the end of a day's work--roughly 4pm on September 14.
No clashes were reported between the escapees and the center’s guards.
Nearly 400 drug users walked toward the city center and police accompanied the mob at a distance, to ensure security.
Most of the addicts were taken home by their families before they reached the Binh Bridge; the remaining group of about 100 people dispersed without causing any trouble, police said.
According to a spokesperson from the Gia Minh Center, more than 200 have returned to the center, so far.
Nguyen Huy Hoang, vice mayor of Thuy Nguyen District, told Mot The Gioi that those inmates had hatched a plan to escape on September 13 in a bid to “pressure [the authorities] for better policy.”
Before Tet, Vietnam’s Lunar New Year, the families of many inmates gathered outside the center to protest an order to increase the period of mandatory rehab treatment from two to four years.
Vietnam reported around 183,000 addicts in June, many of whom are reportedly intravenous drug users.