AN inquiry is being launched into how two Vietnamese boat people from High Island detention centre managed to cut holes in a double fence and escape early yesterday.
Commissioner for Correctional Services Raymond Lai Ming-kee ordered the inquiry as officers from the department continued the search for the escapees in Sai Kung.
Staff manning an outpost in the centre's northern section saw two men running from the camp towards the hills at 6.37 am.
The officers checked the camp's perimeter and found a third inmate between the inner and outer fences.
When he saw the officers, the man climbed back through the inner fence.
The guards raised the alarm and the search began. Police were alerted.
Two holes, both measuring about 30 by 30 centimetres, had been cut in the two fences.
A headcount confirmed that two boat people had escaped. The centre houses about 4,000 inmates.
Assistant Commissioner Bonnie Wong Yuk-man said the department had started stepping up the centre's security after the breakout in July by about 90 inmates.
'Improvement is being made in the patrolling and deployment of staff,' Ms Wong said.
'But there is no way to stop people from trying to escape.' Following the July breakout, metal sheets were fixed around the base of the inner fence and patrols around the perimeter were stepped up to every 15 minutes.
But five inmates tried to escape last month by climbing the fences.
A department spokesman admitted there was a shortage of officers to guard the camp. There are about 30 officers on each shift who watch over the boat people.