Addicts behind rehab center breakout in southern Vietnam face up to 7 years in prison

By Phuoc Tuan   May 21, 2017 | 10:55 am GMT+7

The ringleaders attacked guards before rallying nearly 200 other inmates for the breakout.

Prosecutors in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau on Saturday ratified charges against three Vietnamese for disrupting public order, which carries a maximum sentence of 7 years in prison.

Nguyen Thanh Xuan, Nguyen Trong Tien and Nguyen Thanh Hung allegedly staged a breakout which resulted in nearly 200 inmates escaping from a drug rehab center in Ba Ria-Vung Tau in November last year.

addicts-behind-rehab-center-breakout-in-southern-vietnam-face-up-to-7-years-in-prison

A hole created by the inmates to escape from the drug rehab center in Ba Ria-Vung Tau last year. Photo by VnExpress/Phuoc Tuan

Xuan, Hung and Tien were all drug addicts receiving compulsory treatment at the Ba Ria-Vung Tau Education and Vocational Training Center.

Investigations found that the three planned the breakout on November 8, 2016. The next morning, they attacked the center's guards before exhorting other inmates to escape, shouting: “Let's go home!”

Nearly 200 inmates then unsuccessfully tried to break through the main entrance. Upon realizing the back entrance was not as well protected, the group pelted guards with rocks and bricks before breaking down a wall to escape.

Xuan and Tien were detained a few days later, while Hung was captured in February.

Several large escapes have been reported across Vietnam in recent years following a government order to increase the period of mandatory rehabilitation from one to two years.

Xuan, Tien and Hung's breakout was last year's third breakout at the Ba Ria-Vung Tau Education and Vocational Training Center. Before them, around 450 inmates also escaped in April, and another 78 escaped a month later.

In October last year, over 500 drug addicts also escaped from a center in the southern province of Dong Nai. Another 166 detainees then escaped from the same center two weeks later.

Vietnam has 132 rehab centers across the country, and there are around 220,000 drug users on official records.