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Six inmates slip past while guard is partying

Six prisoners escaped from the Kampong Cham provincial prison on Monday after sawing through the bars of their cell, officials said yesterday.

Police have re-arrested three of the men, who escaped on Monday night while their guard was partying; the remaining three are still on the run, said provincial police deputy Chim Seanghong.

Hou Puthvisal, director of the 853-inmate prison, said that on the day of the incident, the six men used three two-blade saws to cut the steel bars of their cell.  

“I am unsure how they got the saws,” he said.

The three re-arrested men had each been sentenced to six or more years in prison for robbery or murder, said Seanghong, adding that police are searching for the three remaining men: Long Bunpheng, sentenced to 15 years for rape, murder and robbery; Ly Long, sentenced to 56 years for a series of robberies; and Lek Tong, sentenced to 30 years for murder.

This was not the year’s first unlikely prisoner escape.

In April, five men escaped through the window of the Battambang provincial prison after they were moved into a low-security sick room because their coughing kept other prisoners awake.

In September, one man in Banteay Meanchey province and another in Kampot province each asked to use the bathroom during their court hearings and escaped through latrines.

“Most escapes are accompanied by unusual circumstances,” said Adam Hutchinson, director of NGO Prison Fellowship Cambodia.

“Escapes are always a concern ... there is a heightened risk that any escapees who are recaptured will face severe punishment from prison staff,” said LICADHO Prison Project Consultant Jeff Vize.

“The prison law prescribes specific disciplinary measures for prison infractions, and we urge prison authorities to abide by the law.”

Kuy Bunsorn, director of the Ministry of Interior’s prison department, said yesterday that he is working to improve prison security.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kim Sarom at
Justine Drennan at



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