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Prison break scares locals in Henan

By Liu Xiangrui and Yan Jie (China Daily)

10:17, October 28, 2011

XINXIANG, Henan - Villagers living near a mega prison in Central China's Henan province said they were living in fear two days after a prisoner escaped.

Dong Yunhai, a 23-year-old convict, escaped from the Yubei Prison in northern Henan early on Tuesday, Wang Guangxing, a publicity official with the provincial prison management bureau, told China Daily on Thursday.

Wang declined to provide details about the prison break because police were still investigating. Posters describing Dong appeared on Tuesday on the walls in villages around the prison, locals said.

"I'm very afraid," said Bao Rongxiang, who was in his 50s and lived in Lucun village nearby. "After sunset we keep our doors locked and don't dare to go out."

The posters said the family of the tattooed, 170 cm-tall Dong lived in Henan's Linzhou.

Bao said he heard prison alarms sound about 3 am on Tuesday, and police officers visited his family later that morning. The officers showed him a photo of Dong.

"Everyone in the village knows about the prison break," he said.

Others in the village said they were also afraid of the escaped convict.

In Baoshang village, which is 1.5 km away from the prison, locals said posters had also been put up and many police officers had visited their homes.

"They asked if we had lost any belongings," one villager said.

The officers told him that the man they sought was a convicted burglar.

Yubei Prison, which is about 10 km from Xinxiang, can hold 3,000 convicts, local media reported in 2005, quoting warders.

There were no conspicuous signs of police in Xinxiang or in the areas around the prison.

Dong was sentenced to 14 years in jail after being convicted of burglary, Zhengzhou's Oriental Today said, quoting anonymous police sources. Dong had served five years.

On Sept 11, a prisoner identified as Wang Zhenqing escaped from Shenzhou Prison in North China's Hebei province. Wang was captured 14 days later in neighboring Henan province.

In October 2009, one escapee was shot dead and three others were captured three days after they killed a warder and escaped from a prison in North China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region.

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