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Police launch manhunt after 2 escape from prison in Heilongjiang

POLICE in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province have launched a manhunt for two convicts who escaped from a prison in provincial capital Harbin, officials confirmed today.

The convicts escaped from Liming Prison, in the outer Dongli District yesterday morning, officials with the city's public security bureau said.

The news had caused fear among the public, they added.

According to an Internet posting by netizen "zuijiao," all shops near the prison were closed by 7 pm yesterday and police searched every passing vehicle.

Prison authorities declined Xinhua's request for an interview Wednesday, saying they were "not in a position to answer any question as yet".

Dozens of policemen, all armed with guns, were seen Wednesday along Hongxing Road, which leads to the prison. The road also has two checkpoints where all passersby are stopped for identity checks.

A police officer has been posted to guard a drugstore about 50 meters from the prison.

He said he was there to "assist in the investigation," but refused to say exactly what he was supposed to do there.

Residents from a community about 500 meters from the prison said policemen visited every house yesterday.

"They told us to keep our doors and windows shut and not to let any strangers in," said a man who refused to be named. "They also left their phone numbers."


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