Police launch manhunt for two II escapees

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 July, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 July, 2007, 12:00am

Three illegal immigrants from the mainland pushed the policeman guarding them to the ground and escaped yesterday after they had been arrested and handcuffed earlier in the day at a waste recycling plant in Yuen Long.

After a five-hour, air-and-land search, one of the male fugitives was found hiding in bushes about 4pm inside the plant in Shan Ha Road, Shan Ha Tsuen.

'The man probably thought that police had left after an hours-long search, so he returned to the plant,' a police investigator said.

Last night, about 100 policemen, including officers from the Police Tactical Unit, were combing the area for the two other escapees, who were locked to each other with handcuffs.

Inside the plant, police caught two other illegal immigrants and arrested 10 other people including two mainland visitors for aiding and abetting.

The escape happened as a police sergeant and three constables found five men acting suspiciously inside the plant around 10.45am.

The sergeant and the constables intercepted the three illegal immigrants.

While the sergeant guarded the three handcuffed men, three constables chased two other immigrants, catching them after 20 to 30 metres.

'At this juncture, the three handcuffed men pushed the sergeant to the ground, injuring his left arm, before running out of the factory,' another police officer said.

The injured sergeant was bandaged at the scene.

A search was launched involving a Government Flying Service helicopter and tracking dogs.

Police began a door-to-door inquiry in the area, advising villagers to lock their doors and watch out for strangers.

Officers said they believed the illegal immigrants were working illegally in the plant.

A police source said escapes from custody are rare.

'A suspect will be handcuffed and ordered to squat down before being escorted into police cars,' the source said. 'But there is no specification on how many suspects one policeman may guard. It all depends on on-site circumstances.'

The source said a disciplinary review would be carried out.

Last night, 12 men and one woman were detained at the Yuen Long police station for questioning.

No charges had been laid in the case.