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Convict flees hospital in Banteay Meanchey

AUTHORITIES in Banteay Meanchey province are hunting for a 40-year-old prisoner who gave officials the slip during a visit to a provincial hospital on Tuesday.

Long Cheab, deputy prosecutor at the provincial court, said the escapee –  jailed for illegally trafficking men across the Thai-Cambodian border earlier this year – was escorted to the hospital under guard for the removal of a kidney stone. However, he managed to cut the chain shackled to his leg and fled the hospital at around 5am on Tuesday.

“We found a string of cut chain which he had thrown out the window,” said Long Cheab, who visited the hospital after the prisoner’s escape.

Provincial prison chief Phean Chhorvoin said the escape was the result of the negligence of a security guard, who had fallen asleep in a hammock outside the building.  

He said prison officials and police were cooperating to track down the fugitive, concentrating on clinics and hospitals in Banteay Meanchey and in Battambang, his home province.

“So far we have no clue as to where he could be, as he just fled the hospital less than a day ago,” Phean Chhorvoin said.

Soum Chankea, provincial coordinator for local rights group Adhoc said this the second recent escape by a prisoner from the hospital, both of which resulted from the inattention of prison guards.

“The escapes of prisoners pose a severe danger to society and go back to the complete carelessness of prison officials,” Soum Chankea said.

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