Seven alleged criminals who were being transferred to a Malaysian court seized the opportunity to hijack the police van carrying them in a daring escape on Monday, police said.
The van's driver had pulled over when a commotion burst out among the detainees who were being taken from jail to their court proceedings in the northern state of Penang, Abdul Rahman Ibrahim, a district police chief, told Agence France Presse.
Seven of the detainees then overwhelmed the driver and two police officers, forcing them out of the vehicle along with two other detainees who did not take part in the hijacking, he said.
The truck was later found abandoned in a village. Police have launched a hunt for the missing hijackers.
"I think they just took advantage of the situation," Abdul Rahman said.
"We are still combing the area, looking for them," he said, adding that they were believed to have escaped into an oil-palm plantation.
The driver of the vehicle and the two police officers sustained light injuries.
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