Minister of Interior Sar Kheng ordered a probe into a November 8 prison break in the northeastern province of Stung Treng, after five out of seven escaped inmates were recaptured over the next four days.

In a November 12 statement, Sar Kheng noted that all seven were convicted of drug-related offences and that five male inmates – two Laotians and three Cambodians – were back in custody.

He noted that the other two – both Laotians – were still at large, without explicitly identifying their gender.

The minister said the arrests of the five escapees were thanks to tips from the public, and praised the police for their efforts in the operation.

“I call on all compatriots from every walk of life to stick by the ‘safe village, safe commune’ policy and play a part in making it a reality, in addition to embracing the ‘three don’t’s, one report’ national anti-drug campaign and offering a hand in its continued implementation, in the interest of security and tranquillity in our society,” Sar Kheng said.

Stung Treng borders Laos’ Champasak and Attapeu provinces, and has a sizeable ethnic Lao population.