Serco loses more detainees

Under-siege government services provider Serco will investigate an escape by three detainees in broad daylight from the detention centre at Northam at the weekend - the third breakout in six months.

A spokeswoman for Immigration Minister Scott Morrison confirmed yesterday the Vietnamese men had scaled fences at the Serco-managed Yongah Hill Immigration Detention Centre about 2pm on Sunday.

One man, who is understood to have injured himself while climbing a fence, was caught by authorities minutes later.

Another man was recaptured on Great Eastern Highway near Wundowie, about 30km south-west of Northam, yesterday morning.

A land and air search for the third escapee was called off last night.

Northam police said the search would resume when there were more sightings of the man.

The escape is the third breakout from the Yongah Hill centre since August.

A Vietnamese man, who escaped from the centre 18 days ago with another man who has since been recaptured, remains on the run.

Five Vietnamese men escaped from the centre in August.

Mr Morrison's spokeswoman said Serco would investigate the circumstances of the latest escape.

"The minister is awaiting a report from the service provider on previous escapes and is following this matter up with his department on his return from annual leave," she said.

The latest breakout came after Serco, which also runs WA's prison transport services, was put under the spotlight over the escape of prisoners Cameron John Graham, 22, and Kelden Edward Fraser, 23, who kicked their way out of a prison van at Geraldton airport while they were being transferred to Hakea Prison on January 3.

The escape of the prisoners - one a violent rapist serving an 11-year jail sentence - sparked a huge 36-hour police manhunt and a furious public reaction.

Graham and Fraser have since been recaptured.

Serco Asia Pacific chief executive Mark Irwin will be in Perth this week for meetings with the State Government over the Geraldton escape.

Shadow corrective services minister Paul Papalia wants an independent inquiry into Graham and Fraser's escape.

Serco declined to comment.

The West Australian

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