Six in rooftop escape from Green Island
NG KANG-CHUNG and CLIFFORD LO
Six Vietnamese detainees broke through the roof of their dormitory, scaled six-metre-high barbed wire fences and swam through a busy shipping lane to escape from the Green Island holding centre yesterday morning.
The escapees, all men and aged between 20 and 33, were discovered missing during a head-count session at about 7.30am yesterday.
They were believed to have escaped by removing part of the tin roof of their dormitory where they were being held with another 10 fellow illegal immigrants from Vietnam.
It was unknown exactly when they escaped in the first mass breakout from the camp for three years.
A spokesman for the Correctional Services Department, which manages the reception centre off Western, said: 'The escapees were in plain clothes. It was believed they escaped through the roof and scaled a railing.' A subsequent land-and-sea search failed to find the men, who were believed to have swum ashore at Kennedy Town.
Only last Tuesday, five of the escapees had been handed over by police to the Prisons Department, which has established a board of inquiry, and the other was admitted to the centre last Friday.
The centre on Green Island is where Vietnamese illegal immigrants are held before deportation or jailing.
In July 1995, 23 Vietnamese detainees broke out of Green Island using a metal bar to smash through a brick wall.