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Reformatory CP - March 2000

Corpun file 5745

Associated Press, 18 March 2000

Thai Juveniles Tangle With Cops

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) -- Hundreds of teen-age boys broke out of a juvenile detention center on the outskirts of Bangkok on Saturday during a protest against what they said were overly harsh disciplinary measures.

Armed with metal rods, staves of wood and bottles, more than 200 detainees ran through the nearby streets. They played a cat-and-mouse game with dozens of riot police before order was restored and most were returned to the Karuna Observation Center in the city's Bang-na district.

Police, directing water from a fire hose at the facility's front gate, prevented the escape of more boys from the center, which houses more than 1,300 juvenile offenders.

The boys, between 14 and 19, seized buildings inside the center Saturday morning and threatened to burn them down to protest what they said were unpleasant living conditions and harsh discipline implemented by a new director.

Some of the boys told the ITV television network that they have been caned for not behaving well or listening to instructions.

The police, under instructions not to hurt the youths, used fire hoses and tear gas to try to contain them.

The authorities claimed to have the situation under control in the early afternoon, after about three hours of rioting.

Police said none of the boys was hurt but that a policeman was injured in the head by a thrown bottle.

But TV Channel 7 reported that some of the boys were injured in fighting among themselves and from climbing a barbed-wired fence at the center.

Police were still hunting for an unknown number of boys who had not yet been forced back into the center.

Copyright 2000 Associated Press Information Services, all rights reserved.

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