Hanoi - More than 300 drug addicts escaped from a rehab camp in Vietnam, authorities said on Monday.
Inmates broke out of the social and labour rehabilitation camp in Hai Phong City on Sunday afternoon, said Pham Huu Thu, spokesperson for Hai Phong provincial people's committee.
Hundreds of police were mobilised to maintain order.
"Some inmates did not want to work recently, got excited and caused conflicts among inmates, then beat each other", Thu said.
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There were complaints from some about violence and low-quality meals. Others said they escaped after their treatment period was doubled to four years.
"We have to work very hard daily but the daily diet at the camp is low quality, so many inmates were angry, inciting each other to escape", Tuoi Tre newspaper quoted one inmate as saying.
Inmates who had stayed in the camp for two years, but did not make satisfactory progress, would have to stay for another two-year treatment period, camp director Nguyen Quang Toan said.
"Those inmates will be supplied $17 for their meal monthly", said Toan. "Those inmates have to work to make money to improve their daily diet. But their meals can't be as good as theirs at home."
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The camp's security guards reportedly allowed the inmates to escape out of fear of clashes.
Authorities told businesses and families to shut their doors for their own safety.
Twelve inmates returned to the camp while many others were taken home by family members, the spokesperson said.
Authorities said they would ask the relatives to encourage them to return to the camp.
Several large escapes have been reported across Vietnam in recent years following a government order to increase the period of mandatory rehab treatment from one to two years, Thanh Nien newspaper reported.
At the end of June, Vietnam had recorded about 183 000 addicts, many of them intravenous drug users.