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November 18, 2009

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Escapee hunted in mountains

ABOUT 200 police officers are combing a mountainous area in central China's Hunan Province for a prisoner who tunneled out of a local jail.

Officers from the Deshan Prison in Changde City and local police are searching a 5-square-kilometer area surrounding two peaks in the Lishankou area of Changde's Shimenqiao Town, the provincial capital Changsha-based Xiaoxiang Morning Post reported yesterday.

Residents reported the escapee, Liu Hong, had asked food from villagers, the newspaper said.

Prison officers discovered the escape on Sunday morning when the inmates started production around 8am, officers had earlier told the newspaper.

Liu, who was serving time for robbery, had his term increased to 20 years in January after a failed escape attempt, prison officers said.

The officers found Liu had escaped through a hole he had dug through the jail wall. Outside, they found he had stolen a cotton cloth, a mobile phone and some money from a villager and escaped on a motorcycle.

Police said temperatures have dropped below freezing so Liu will need to hide indoors.

The police set up roadblocks across the city and published a wanted notice to solicit public help. Anyone who provides information leading to Liu's arrest will be awarded 20,000 yuan (US$2,900) and anyone who catches Liu will get 50,000 yuan.


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