BEIJING (AP) — Chinese authorities set up checkpoints and offered a reward of $48,000 for three inmates who killed a guard, donned police uniforms and escaped Tuesday in a rare jailbreak.
Police were searching for the fugitives after they escaped from Yanshou detention center outside Harbin in northeastern China, the Communist Party's People's Daily newspaper said on its website.
The newspaper earlier said two of the men had been captured but later retracted that report.
An arrest warrant issued by provincial police said the men, identified as Gao Yulun, Wang Damin and Li Haiwei, were unarmed at the time of the jailbreak and that officials were offering a reward of 100,000 yuan ($16,000) for information leading to the capture of each man.
The men killed the guard and were wearing police jackets and shirts as they left the detention center, the warrant said.
A guard who answered the phone at the detention center said he was not permitted to answer questions, and calls to the county's Communist Party propaganda office rang unanswered.
Chinese detention centers and prisons are run strictly and escapes are extremely rare.
China imprisons a far smaller percentage of its population than the U.S. — 118 per 100,000 people compared to America's 737 per 100,000. However, punishments are often harsh, and China is believed to execute more people for crimes each year than the rest of the world combined.