Minister of Interior Sar Kheng has set up a committee to investigate how seven male inmates escaped from Stung Treng Provincial Prison in Preah Bat commune’s Bachong village of Stung Treng province’s Stung Treng town at about 3am on November 8.
Nuth Savna, spokesman for the General Department of Prisons (GDP), told The Post on November 8 that GDP director-general Chhem Savuth reported to Sar Kheng after the prisoners broke through the wall and fled.
The minister then established the committee headed by a ministry secretary of state in charge of its secretariat, with participation of the National Police and GDP officials. The GDP also set up a commission to help investigate the matter.
“For now, we are cooperating with the Stung Treng Provincial Administration . . . to search for the seven prisoners. We are now widely spread out with the participation of local people in an effort to get them back,” he said.
Savna said that among the inmates who escaped from the prison, six were involved in drug-related crimes and one in aggravated theft and torture. One of the detainees was a drug ringleader who was sentenced to life imprisonment.
“Now we are working hard, and if there is more involvement from the police and local people, it will assist us in recapturing them soon,” he said.
To break through the brick fence, the prisoners used tools such as steel drills, horseshoes, wooden poles, and pillows and blankets to muffle noise, Savna said, noting that the prison has a handicraft workshop used for vocational training for detainees.
The workshop contains tools for metal handicrafts, sculptures, wooden handicrafts and furniture and cooking material.
“They had planned for months and escaped using those tools to break through the wall. Because the wall was built using one type of brick that is not strong, they understood how to escape,” he confirmed.
“Another shortcoming was that the time was early, so they had arranged the time, materials and the way to escape. We are also not sure if they had conspirators waiting outside the prison to assist them. The police are investigating the case,” he added.
Stung Treng provincial hall spokesman Men Kong said on November 8 that a group of experts and a research team were investigating the escape.
“We also have an operation team to search for the seven prisoners . . . but so far we have not had any further reports yet,” he said.
Provincial police called on the public to report to the authorities immediately if they spot them.
The escaped prisoners were identified as Chak Ly Chettali, Lavan Kavong Pheng, Sean Khon, Pit Ngin, Vorn Phu and Touch Vat. They were all imprisoned for drug trafficking.
The seventh prisoner, Horn Vimean, was convicted of aggravated theft and torture.