Po­lice hunt hun­dreds of ad­dicts af­ter re­hab es­cape

The Myanmar Times - - World -

VIET­NAMESE po­lice hunted yes­ter­day for hun­dreds of drug ad­dicts who es­caped from a com­pul­sory re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tre, with some us­ing sticks and fire ex­tin­guish­ers to break out.

The com­mu­nist gov­ern­ment de­crees up to two years of forced re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion at gov­ern­ment cen­tres to try to re­duce drug use. Rights groups have de­nounced poor con­di­tions at the fa­cil­i­ties and mass es­capes oc­cur pe­ri­od­i­cally.

More than 500 ad­dicts broke out of a cen­tre in the south­ern prov­ince of Dong Nai late Oc­to­ber 23, leav­ing the cen­tre in a sham­bles af­ter smash­ing through con­crete walls and win­dows and break­ing down doors.

The es­capees flooded onto nearby roads, ac­cord­ing to footage in lo­cal me­dia, prompt­ing of­fi­cials to urge res­i­dents to stay in­doors and lock their homes.

“We are still hunt­ing them in fields and sur­round­ing ar­eas. Many have caught taxis and left the prov­ince,” said a po­lice of­fi­cer, adding that the peo­ple there are wor­ried.

The Dong Nai re­hab cen­tre houses 1500 peo­ple, which re­ports say is dou­ble its ca­pac­ity. It houses both vol­un­tary res­i­dents and ad­dicts who have been or­dered into the fa­cil­ity.

There are more than 200,000 ad­dicts in the coun­try, where heroin use is ram­pant, with about 13,000 in treat­ment cen­tres, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial fig­ures.

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