Prisoners moved after punch-up

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 December, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 December, 1998, 12:00am

More than 40 per cent of inmates at a trouble-plagued Lantau prison were transferred after a fight broke out among 240 prisoners yesterday.

Security at Ma Po Ping Prison was strengthened with increased manpower after the clash in which 51 prisoners and two Correctional Services Department officers were injured.

The department will conduct a review to see how surveillance can be strengthened at the medium-security prison.

The fight between local prisoners and mainlanders took place at about 8am when 240 inmates were having breakfast in the dining hall.

'Somebody suddenly shouted that the mainlanders should be assaulted and started the fight,' a Correctional Services Department spokesman said.

Stools were used, and punches and kicks were thrown in the melee.

Eight staff members were overseeing breakfast when the fight started and an extra 10 officers were drafted in to quell the violence.

The fight lasted less than two minutes but 28 mainlanders and 23 locals were injured.

Two mainland prisoners suffering head injuries were taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital by helicopter.

The two officers, who suffered face and head injuries, were treated and discharged while the two prisoners were admitted for observation.

None of the injuries was serious.

A Correctional Services Department spokesman said that the fight was believed to have been a revenge attack on mainlander prisoners following an incident on Sunday in which two local prisoners were attacked by eight mainlanders.

That incident had been quickly broken up by guards.

Three officers and 10 prisoners were slightly injured and the case was reported to police.

The department transferred 280 of the 690 prisoners at Ma Po Ping to Stanley, Shek Pik and Tong Fuk prisons.

An additional 10 staff members have been deployed at Ma Po Ping, boosting manpower to 290 officers.