A visitor to Hong Kong jumped out of a moving van while being escorted by police to a coronavirus quarantine camp on Monday, the man’s third escape attempt in less than 24 hours.
The 39-year-old from South Korea, who arrived in the city last Thursday, exited the vehicle’s emergency door as it was travelling along the Tsing Sha Highway in Sha Tin, shortly after 6am.
He was quickly recaptured by two police officers wearing protective gear, and was taken to Prince of Wales Hospital suffering from a minor injury.
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According to police, the man was being taken to the quarantine camp at Chun Yeung Estate in Fo Tan when the incident occurred, and would be sent there after he had been treated.
A police source said it was the third time the man, who is a tourist guide, had left quarantine without permission since arriving in Hong Kong last week.
The man had initially been sent to a hotel on Nathan Road in Yau Ma Tei for compulsory 14-day quarantine on Thursday.
He left his hotel room without permission on Sunday morning, and was eventually located when he returned to the hotel at 6pm that day.
The man was then sent to the nearby Queen Elizabeth Hospital while it was decided if he needed to be sent to a government quarantine centre.
According to the source, the man had a fever but tested negative for Covid-19, and fled the hospital around 9pm.
Police immediately began searching for him, and stopped him again at 3am on Monday when he returned to his hotel. He was then taken back to Queen Elizabeth Hospital, before a minivan was arranged to transport him to the camp in Fo Tan.
After the attempted escape, the police source said, the Department of Health would investigate.
The man has not been arrested. In Hong Kong, breaching a quarantine order carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a HK$25,000 fine.
Last month, a man, 58, was sentenced to four weeks’ jail at Sha Tin Court for violating the compulsory quarantine regulation. He had been issued a compulsory order in March stating that he must conduct quarantine at home for 14 days. But before the end of the two weeks, he left quarantine without permission and was stopped at Shenzhen Bay Control Point on March 21 when he tried to leave the city. He was then charged with breaching the rule.
After sentencing, the Department of Health said: “The sentence sends a clear message to the community that breaching a quarantine order is a criminal offence and that the government will not tolerate such actions.”