VIETNAMESE migrants' attempts to break out of the confines of Hong Kong's far-from-pleasant detention centres have made headlines before. But few will have been as damaging to the boat people's tarnished image as the report by doctors at Prince of Wales Hospital documenting the high proportion of admissions for injuries and sicknesses which turn out to be self-inflicted. People who resort to injecting themselves with raw sewage or puncturing their own lungs may indeed need urgent treatment. But the public may be forgiven for resenting the waste of resources, the occupation of scarce hospital beds and the unnecessary burden on the hospital staff and the taxpayer. Worse still are the large number of boat people who then attempt to abscond from hospital. Often they are still sick and will require attention wherever they then go to ground. If they are carrying infectious diseases they could become a threat to public health. There is still some sympathy internationally for the people in the camps. But people guilty of abuses such as these deserve no sympathy. Boat people found to have inveigled their way into hospital so they can try to escape from detention should be given no second chance. They will have to be treated. But once they are well enough they should be regarded as having inflicted on themselves the fate of being put on the next orderly repatriation flight to Vietnam.