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Myanmar jailbreakers may cross to Thailand

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This recent undated photo shows the entrance of the Hpa-An prison building before the prison break on Sunday. Saw Kyaw San OO/AFP

Myanmar jailbreakers may cross to Thailand

More than 30 inmates on the run after a Myanmar jailbreak are likely to try to cross into Thailand, an official said on Monday, a day after they hijacked a garbage truck and ploughed through the prison gates to make their escape.

The fugitives broke out of Hpa-An jail in the country’s eastern Karen state – which borders Thailand – on Sunday morning.

State media said 10 of the 41 escapees had been recaptured while police are scouring nearby villages for those still at large.

The jailbreak has left villagers near the prison scared, local official Khin Thet Mar told the media.

“[The escaped prisoners] don’t have anything to eat or money to use so people think they might threaten them to get what they need,” she said.

“They might have fled to Thailand but the authorities here are trying to recapture them by blocking possible escape routes.”

The prisoners escaped after pulling the driver down from a garbage truck and then crashing through the gates, leaving them wrenched off their hinges.

The getaway vehicle was found later on Sunday stuck in the mud some 200 kilometres away by road towards the Thai border, said state-run paper The Global New Light of Myanmar.

The report said the ringleader was serving a life prison term without parole for “drug trafficking, illegal possession of arms and attempted murder”.

In total, 29 of the 41 prisoners had been sentenced while 12 were still facing trial, Khin Thet Mar confirmed.

Archive photographs of the prison, which holds around 2,000 prisoners, showed a large sign in English on the outside reading “Kind but Firm”.

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