A Vietnamese detainee from Northam's Yongah Hill immigration detention centre was recaptured more than two hours after escaping custody in the Perth city centre yesterday afternoon.
Dressed in a blue T-shirt and cargo pants, the man was surrounded by police and bundled into an unmarked car after an extensive manhunt through the city and Northbridge.
He was tracked down just before 6pm near the intersection of Newcastle and William streets, after fleeing while under escort to a medical appointment near the corner of Pier and Wellington streets about 3.45pm.
A spokeswoman for Immigration Minister Scott Morrison last night confirmed the man had been in the custody of Serco guards when he escaped.
The incident comes as Serco faces huge pressure after a series of other escapes.
On Tuesday, four detainees broke out of the Yongah Hill centre by climbing three fences. It was the fourth escape involving 14 detainees from the centre since August.
Two are yet to be found.
On January 3, convicted rapist Cameron Graham and alleged armed robber Kelden Fraser broke out of a prison van at Geraldton airport and were on the run for 36 hours before being caught after a massive police manhunt.
Two weeks later, prisoner Bradley McIntosh-Narrier escaped from two Serco guards who had escorted him to the toilet at Joondalup Health Campus.
He was recaptured two days later.
In December, two prisoners from the Serco-run Wandoo Reintegration Facility escaped while doing community work in Alfred Cove and were recaptured the next day.
"This latest incident will be added to those issues already being reviewed by the Government as a result of previous instances of escape," Mr Morrison's spokeswoman said.
Serco directed inquiries about yesterday's incident to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
Sun Cafe manager Alex Kwon said the detainee was recaptured just metres from his William Street restaurant.
Mr Kwon said there was a commotion before he saw the man he believed to be the detainee running across Newcastle Street.
Earlier, police flooded the city centre after reports the detainee was seen running along Murray Street towards Subiaco.
They searched stores in the precinct, roaming the cosmetics and clothing sections of Myer in Forrest Chase during the search.
The Community and Public Sector Union/Civil Service Association issued a statement last night demanding Premier Colin Barnett reassess the Government's contracts with Serco.