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HONG KONG AUTHORITIES SEARCH FOR VIETNAMESE WHO ESCAPED CENTER

Police scoured hills and nearby towns on Saturday for scores of Vietnamese migrants who escaped over 24 hours earlier from a detention centre after torching buildings in an orgy of destruction.

But Friday's rioting and one of the biggest breakouts from the Whitehead detention center failed to prevent authorities from proceeding with deportation plans.Police and prison guards moved into the fire-blackened Whitehead camp to identify about 200 inmates earmarked for repatriation flights to Vietnam soon.

A government spokesman said some of the migrants selected for prompt repatriation had been shuttled without incident to a holding camp on remote High Island.