Five inmates managed to escape from the Ratanakkiri Provincial Prison in the wee hours of Friday night, though one was quickly rearrested, authorities said yesterday.
“The inmates broke the lock in Building A, Room 7, climbed the security fence and jumped out at 2:15am. The patrolling officials saw that immediately and shouted, and we arrested one inmate named Norng Vanna at 2:35am about 30 metres away from the prison,” reads a statement that provincial Prisons Chief Tin Sovanny submitted to the provincial prosecutor’s office the same day.
It adds that three of the fugitives had been jailed for drug use and possession, one for timber smuggling and another for assisting in a different escape.
“The deputy chief of the prison is investigating whether the prisoners broke the lock or the prison officials handed the keys to [them]. This is still in question,” Sovanny said yesterday, adding that prosecutors will start investigations today.
Banlung Town Police Chief Hout Borey said authorities went to the facility to hunt down the escapees after being notified of the incident at around 3am.
“[The fugitives either] escaped into the rubber plantation or into a forest with a stream. So, it’s hard for us to find them,” he said.
Sorn Keo, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry’s Department of Prisons, acknowledged that breakouts were not uncommon at the provincial prison, attributing the problem to management and infrastructure.