Over 100 Detainees Escaped After Riot in Malaysian Detention Centre
06 April 2011 – KUALA LUMPUR: A total of 109 immigration detainees, with majority of them being Burmese nationals, escaped from an overcrowded detention centre in Lenggeng, south of Kuala Lumpur after a riot broke out and a wooden building of the centre was burnt on Monday night.
Until Tuesday, Malaysian police had rounded up 25 of them but are still hunting for others who are believed to have escaped to the nearby jungle and oil palm estates.
Besides 85 Burmese escapees, there are also scores of Iranian, Bangladeshi, Nepalese, Vietnamese and Indonesian.
Police have set up roadblocks in the surrounding areas and at all exits leading to town while air and canine units are scouring the surrounding areas.
Negeri Sembilan State Deputy Police Chief, Datuk Abdul Manan Mohd. Hassan said: “The illegal immigrants 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.”
It is understood that 348 detainees were confined in the detention block which was supposed to house 250 people.
It is also understood that Immigration Department takes longer time to repatriate Burmese nationals due to the human rights condition in their home country.
The problem is causing an increasing number of Burmese detainees stranded for months in detainee centres while their refugee’s status is screened through by the relevant agencies, especially the UNHCR.
Meanwhile, Director General of Immigration Detention Centers, Datuk Azri Yusof said the department was in the process of upgrading the centre when the incident happened.
Immigration Department is in the process of upgrading several detention centers in the country to improve the comfort level and prevent breakout.
By Thomas Chong