A security guard at a rehab center in the central province of Binh Thuan shows the room where Nguyen Ngoc Long (L) was interned as a drug addict before he was rescued by members of his gang on December 9 / PHOTO: QUE HA
Police in the central province of Binh Thuan are hunting a "dangerous drug addict" who successfully escaped from a local rehab center three times -- twice within five days -- leaving two security guards injured.
Nguyen Ngoc Long, 36, managed to flee Ham Thuan Bac District's rehab center with the help of his gang, and allegedly, his girlfriend, a former police officer who was sacked for being involved with drugs.
According to a report by Binh Thuan Department of Labor, War Invalids, and Social Affairs, on December 4, when the center's drug patients, including Long, were playing sports outdoors, Tran Van Chieu, an officer, caught Long behaving "unusually."
Chieu asked Vo Ngoc Ha, a security guard, to check outside the gate. Ha found a group of young people gathered there along with Long's girlfriend.
Long then rushed to the gate, shouting for the youngsters to throw in weapons - a big hammer, scimitar, sword, knife and tear gas. He beat Ha, when the latter tried to stop him.
Long used the hammer to break the gate's lock, while two other drug patients, Nguyen Van Nhi, 16, and Huynh Van Canh, 23, supported him by brandishing other weapons to scare security guards away.
The hammer broke before the lock but Long then grabbed the scimitar and threatened to kill the security guards before climbing over the four-meter high gate to escape. Nhi and Canh followed.
On December 7, police caught Long using drugs and handed him over to the center.
However, two days later, early in the morning, a group of four people broke into the center by cutting the gate's lock with pincers and saws, said Nguyen Thanh Dung, vice director of the center.
They then broke the locks on Long's room and rescued him.
Security guards tried to stop them, but they attacked the guards with scimitars.
Nguyen Ngoc Sa, one of the security guards, was injured.
Dung said Long was taken to the center under a compulsory program at the end of last year, but he soon escaped by digging a hole in a wall.
He was arrested by police in November this year.
Long has to be apprehended quickly, because he is very "dangerous," according to Dung.
The vice director also said that they asked police to send a group of officers to protect the center, as tens of young drug addicts at the center are very aggressive and refuse to follow rules.
In the meantime, Senior Lieutenant-Colonel Tran Ba Son, chief of Ham Thuan Bac District's police division, told Thanh Nien that police had arrested Canh on Wednesday as he tried to flee Phan Thiet Town.
Provincial authorities ordered police to arrest Long as soon as possible, Son said.
In Vietnam, escapes involving hundreds of drug patients are reported at rehab centers around the country every year.
Under Vietnamese laws, drug addicts have to take on compulsory rehab programs, if they fail to voluntarily register for one, either at home or at official centers.
Drug use is subjected to fines from VND500,000-VND1 million (US$23.5-47).
Repeat violations, after compulsory rehabilitation, are subjected to jail terms of between three months and two years.
Like us on Facebook and scroll down to share your comment