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Chief guard accused of aiding Ratanakkiri jailbreak

An exterior of Ratanakiri Provincial prison, where five inmates escaped prison in May. Photo supplied
An exterior of Ratanakiri Provincial prison, where five inmates escaped prison in May. Photo supplied

Chief guard accused of aiding Ratanakkiri jailbreak

The 52-year-old chief guard of the Ratanakkiri Provincial Prison was on Friday charged with helping five convicts escape on May 25 and has been detained in the prison of neighbouring Stung Treng province to await a trial that could see him jailed for 10 years.

Kyal Pa Ngarng, the chief guard of the prison – which has seen numerous break-outs over the past few years – was arrested by Military Police on the orders of a judge after the prosecutor made the accusation, said Keo Pisoth, the secretary of the provincial court.

“The prosecutor on this case made the allegations against the accused of facilitating convicts to escape from the prison,” Pisoth said, adding that he understood Pa Ngarng had let the five prisoners escape after receiving money from them.

Chief of Education Correctional Department of Ratanakkiri's prison Khyal Pangnang, was arrested and detained for allegedly facilitating the escape of five prisoners in May. Photo supplied
Chief of Education Correctional Department of Ratanakkiri's prison Khyal Pangnang, was arrested and detained for allegedly facilitating the escape of five prisoners in May. Photo supplied

However, Tin Sovanny, the director of the prison – who in 2015 was himself accused of taking prisoners to clean his house and to sleep with – said that he did not believe there was money involved in the case and that the arrest was part of a campaign against him.

“They want to make me have a lot of scandals, and they want to break me, and maybe there is someone behind this Kyal Pa Ngarng,” he said. Sovanny added that Pa Ngarng was charged with “facilitating an escape” under Article 567 of the Criminal Code, a crime that carries a sentence of five to 10 years.

The five escapees – who were in prison on convictions relating to drugs, timber smuggling and an earlier prison break – escaped just after 2am on May 25 after opening the locks to their cell. Three remain at large.

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