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SEREMBAN: Police have rounded up 25 of the 105 detainees who escaped from the Lenggeng Immigration Depot for illegals near here on Monday night.
The hunt is on for 80 others who are believed to have escaped to the nearby jungle or oil palm estate.
In the 9.45pm incident, the detainees, the majority of whom are Myanmar nationals, escaped after rioting and setting fire to the upper floor of their detention block.
State deputy police chief Senior Asst Comm Datuk Abdul Manan Mohd Hassan said 200 personnel from the police field force, air and canine units, Immigration Department and Rela members were involved in the manhunt to track down the runaways.
“We have set up roadblocks in the surrounding areas and at exits leading to Seremban and Semenyih while our air and canine units scour the surrounding areas.
“As at noon today (yesterday), we have rounded up 25 detainees who were found not far from the camp. We are confident all the escapees will be found by Wednesday evening,” he told a press conference at the centre yesterday.
SAC Abdul Manan said 85 of the escapees were Myanmar nationals while the rest were from Iran, Bangladesh, Nepal, Vietnam and Indonesia.
He said the illegals who had been detained at the camp for between three months and a year claimed that they were unhappy with the conditions at their detention block which was overcrowded.
“The public, especially those living in the area near the camp, are advised to contact the nearest police station if they notice strangers hanging around,” he added.
It is believed that 348 detainees were confined in the detention block which was supposed to house 250 people. No one was injured in the incident.
SAC Abd Manan said as the two-storey block was damaged in the blaze, some of the detainees would now be moved to other detention centres.
There are a total of 925 detainees in the depot, including 192 females.
Meanwhile, Home Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Mahmood Adam said a committee comprising the Immigration Detention Centres Department, Prisons Department, Rela and the Civil Defence Department and police had been formed to investigate the breakout.
Immigration Detention Centres director-general Datuk Azri Yusof said none of its officers was injured.
“They could not stop the detainees from running away as there were too many of them,” he said.