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Five on lam after prison breakout in Battambang

Authorities in Battambang province are still on the hunt for five men who broke out of the central prison early on Saturday morning after being moved into a low-level security room reserved for the sick.

The escape marks the second time this year that convicts in the more than 1,100-inmate facility have managed to bypass the walls, bars and guards.

The escapees, three of whom were inside for murder and serving sentences of more than 10 years, had lung infections and their coughing was disturbing sleeping prisoners, said Lach Bros, head of criminal offence research for the provincial military police.

“They had a chance to break out because the room is not strong and they could escape, but we will search to take them back to the prison,” Bros said.

The five men on the loose are Nou Poline, 32, Keo Long, 28, Nhong Ry, 40, Sam Sophat, 33, and Chhun Vuth, 22. Poline and Long were in prison for robbery while Ry, Sophat and Vuth were serving time for murder.

Ran Vannjhon, a researcher with the Cambodian human rights group Licadho, said this is the second time in 2012 that inmates convicted of violent offences have broken out of Battambang.

Two inmates escaped in March.

Neither of them have been caught yet, he added.

He called for higher walls on the perimeter and more vigilant personnel.

“It is because of careless prison guards,” he said.

Kang Saren, who heads up prison administration in Battambang, could not be reached for comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mom Kunthear at kunthear.mom@phnompenhpost.com

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