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Asia

Mass escape at Vietnamese rehab center

Vietnamese authorities have begun rounding up hundreds of inpatients that had escaped from a drug treatment center. The addicts had broken through the front gate of a facility in Dong Nai province.

Authorities in Vietnam are searching Monday for hundreds of drug addicts that had overpowered security guards and broken out of a secure facility. The patients broke through the gates of the centre in Dong Nai province on Sunday night before heading towards the trans-Vietnam highway, Huynh Van Tinh, director of Dong Nai province's social affairs department said.

A group of people who had recently been admitted to the facility incited others to escape and threatened to beat others if they didn't help break down the gate, Tinh said.

By 11 a.m. (0400 UTC) Monday authorities said police had recaptured 334 out of 562 that had been reported missing. The drug treatment facility houses 1,481 patients.

There are at least 180,000 chronic drug abusers in Vietnam, many of them heroin and methamphetamine addicts. Rehabilitation programs in Vietnam - which combine education, communist ideology and physical labor for one to two years - have a high failure rate, with more than 90 percent of the addicts relapsing within five years, according to official statistics.

jar/kl (AP, dpa)

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