Prison Official Charged for Helping Ratanakkiri Inmates Escape

A Ratanakkiri provincial prison official has been detained and charged for allegedly helping five prisoners escape in May, three of whom remain at large, according to officials.

Kayal Pangang, 52, chief of the prison’s correctional bureau, was detained and charged on Friday, provincial court spokesman Keo Pisoth said on Sunday. According to a court document, Mr. Pangang was charged with “facilitation of escape by supervisor.”

Mr. Pangang was being held at the Stung Treng provincial prison to avoid potential repercussions from inmates at the prison where he worked, said Tin Sovanny, director of the Ratanakkiri prison.

“When the detainee has been the guard of the prison, the person cannot be detained there due to fears that something might happen to him,” Mr. Sovanny said.

Mr. Sovanny and Mr. Pisoth both said they were unsure how Mr. Pangang allegedly helped the prisoners to escape.

If convicted, he faces one to three years in prison and a fine of 2 to 6 million riel, or about $500 to $1,500.

The jailbreak in question occurred at about 2 a.m. on May 26, according to a post on the General Commissariat of National Police’s Facebook page on Saturday.

One of the five prisoners was immediately recaptured and police took another escaped inmate into custody on June 6 in Ratanakkiri’s Veun Sai district, the post says. The three other prisoners were still at large, it adds.

In a separate case last month, five inmates escaped from the Kompong Speu provincial prison by scaling the prison’s walls, a prison department official said at the time.

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Clarification: A previous version of this article cited the court spokesman giving an incorrect charge for Mr. Pangang.

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