Beijing: Three inmates, including one sentenced to death, escaped in a rare jailbreak in China's northeast after killing a guard early on Wednesday morning, state media reported.
The escape at from Yanshou county jail outside the city of Harbin took place about 6 am today (2200 GMT Monday), according to a report on the website of the Communist Party's People's Daily newspaper. Armed police are searching for the fugitives, it said.
One of the men, 50-year-old Gao Yulun, had been sentenced to death, the report said. The other two, 35-year-old Wang Damin and 29-year-old Li Haiwei, were charged, respectively, with assault leading to death and murder, although it wasn't clear whether they had gone on trial yet.
The three donned police jackets and shirts as they left the jail, the report said.
No other details were given and a guard who answered the jail's phone said he was not permitted to answer questions, while calls to the county's Communist Party propaganda office rang unanswered.
Chinese jails and prisons are run along strict lines and escapes are extremely rare.
China imprisons are far smaller percentage of its population than the US 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.