Official Blames Kompong Speu Prison’s Low Walls for Inmates’ Breakout

Five inmates were still at large after escaping from Kompong Speu provincial prison in the early hours of on Tuesday morning by scaling the walls, officials said.

The prisoners, including one charged with attempted murder, used blankets to cover the barbed wire as they climbed over the 2-meter-high wall at about 2 a.m. on Tuesday, said Huy Hoeun, deputy director of the Interior Ministry’s general department of prisons.

Five inmates who escaped Kompong Spue prison on Tuesday from left: Long Bunnath; Sum Mouch; Keo Em; Run Rany; Khun Sophoeun. (Fresh News)

“The wall of the prison doesn’t meet standards,” he said.

“The prison walls we built recently are 4 meters and on top of that there is about 5 to 6 teuk of barbed wire,” or about half a meter, he said.

The prisoners bolted to freedom while they were in the Chbar Mon City prison’s health facility, climbing through the roof, Mr. Hoeun said.

“They bent the metal of the rooftop of the health center and escaped through it,” he said. “Then, they used their clothes and blankets to cover the barbed wire” as they climbed over the wall.

It is not certain where the prison guards were at the time. “Maybe there were no prison guards” in the center, said Mr. Hoeun, though Kak Savun, director of the prison, said on Tuesday that “our security guards were outside the facility.”

Mr. Hoeun said officials from the prisons department were sent to investigate and prison guards may face disciplinary action.

Sum Mouch, 32, who was charged with attempted murder, and Keo Em, 47, who was convicted of robbery, were among the escapees, according to a report posted on the National Police website on Tuesday. The other inmates were Khun Sophoeun, 21, who was convicted of drug possession and trafficking, Long Bunnath, 30, and Run Rany, 22, who face the same charges, the report said.

Provincial police chief Sam Samuon said he was not in charge of the case but “police across the country are looking to arrest them.”

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