Escape ends with death and capture

08:16, October 21, 2009      

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The trail of death and desperation left behind by four escaped convicts came to an abrupt halt yesterday when police shot and killed one and captured the other three.

The men had been on the run from a prison in the northern Inner Mongolia autonomous region after breaking out of prison on Saturday.

Their initial escape came after the men killed a police officer, tied up another and injured two more at the No 2 prison in Hohhot, the regional capital.

They fled as far as a small township in Helin county, where they were tracked down at 8 am yesterday.

With police closing in, the escaped convicts hijacked a rural wagon and took a hostage.

One of the four, Gao Bo, was shot and killed about 80 minutes later. Another, named Qiao Haiqiang, was injured when he jumped from the fourth floor of a building while trying to flee, local police said.

After their capture, Qiao and the other two escapees were placed in "strict custody", a representative from the regional police department said at a briefing in Hohhot.

Before they were subdued, Gao Bo stabbed 28-year-old police officer Guo Yanjun in the thigh, said police. Officers reported that the unnamed hostage was also injured but they did not elaborate.

The dramatic end came after more than 6,000 armed police and security officers were involved in the hunt for the men, who were all in their 20s.

The four had initially headed for Shanxi province but they turned back to a small township about 50 km south of Hohhot because of the heavy police presence at the provincial border.

The breakout began at around 2:30 pm on Saturday when the four men grabbed a police officer, surnamed Xu, bound him and took his access card. They then killed Xu's fellow officer, Lan Jianguo, while still inside the prison, using a paper blade they had been given for their work duties.

Lan, the father of two-year-old twin girls, was stabbed more than a dozen times before the convicts cut his throat and sliced off one of his fingers, according to Wang Lijun, deputy chief of Inner Mongolia's prison bureau.

Li Hongbin, one of the four prisoners, then put on Xu's uniform and led the others, who had changed into civilian clothes, through three gates, using the access card and the severed finger to get past security checks. The convicts stabbed two more police officers while completing their escape.

They then hijacked a taxi near the prison gate, pulling its driver out of the vehicle and robbing a passenger before driving away.

When the taxi ran out of gas, they took another and headed toward downtown Hohhot.

Two of the four escapees were serving death sentences with a two-year reprieve, while the other two were serving life terms.

After the breakout, the Ministry of Justice ordered swift, thorough safety checks at all of China's prisons and work camps, Legal Daily reported yesterday.

Judicial organs at different levels must "take effective measures to strengthen prison management and ensure safety and stability of prisons and work camps", the ministry said.

Hohhot's justice bureau had earlier called the prison break a "negligent accident on the part of prison management".

The No 2 prison has 447 police officers and another 268 workers.

Source: China Daily
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