Seven prisoners have escaped from the new prison in Siem Reap province, prison and police officials confirmed Thursday.
Police are still searching for the fugitives who broke a small window in their new cell and fled Saturday night.
The prison began holding prisoners in late January.
Tes Chum, deputy director of the prison, said the new prison—built for the state by prominent trading and gasoline company Sokimex—is not secure enough to keep prisoners from escaping.
The prison is located on the outskirts of the provincial capital. Electricity is poor, which means guards have a difficult time keeping watch at night, Tes Chum said.
“It [the new prison] was built like a hotel, not like a prison,” he said. “The guards on duty were lucky that the prisoners did not kill them.”
Tes Chum described the seven prisoners as serious convicts who are serving three- to 16-year sentences, but he did not specify what crimes they committed. They had been staying in the same jail cell.
More than 250 inmates were transferred Jan 28 to the new prison.
Sokimex received prime real estate in central Siem Reap town in exchange for building the new prison.
Ou Em, chief of the serious crime bureau for Siem Reap, also said the prison is inadequate in keeping prisoners from escaping.
He said the prisoners broke a window located above the toilet in their cell. The inmates then cut through the metal bars on the window and used a rope made out of clothes to climb out and escape.