RATCHABURI : A warder at the high security Khao Bin prison was stabbed to death after being held hostage for three hours by three inmates in a botched escape attempt Sunday.
Prison staff and police monitor the hostage situation from a watchtower at Khao Bin prison Sunday. Two inmates stabbed a warder to death before they were shot dead by police. (Photo by Sunant Ochakachorn)
Two of the three inmates were later shot dead by authorities.
Warder Suthep Joisriket was stabbed in the heart as police negotiated with the escapees, police said.
He also suffered slashes to his throat and to one of his wrists, Region 7 Provincial Police Commissioner Hanpol Nitwibul said.
Suthep had spotted the three inmates driving a backhoe into the prison's wall in a bid to escape. The machine was on hand for a construction project at the prison.
The inmates, armed with a knife and other sharp metal objects, seized the warder when he tried to halt the attempted escape.
They took the officer hostage inside a partially constructed building.
The inmates, who had been residing in the 6th Zone, were identified as Suthirak Sangarthit, Prasit Sansabai _ both serving sentences for murder _ and Ronnachai Sriparnkaew, a drug convict serving a life sentence.
Several hundred police officers, including riot police, were deployed at the prison to control the situation while police negotiators tried to talk the prisoners into releasing the guard.
About 6pm, prisoner Suthirak, 49, agreed to surrender, Pol Lt Gen Hanpol said.
Ronnachai and Prasit refused to back down, demanding free passage out of the prison, he said. As Suthirak _ identified as a former police officer _ walked away from the scene, he was allegedly assaulted by some prison guards, suffering serious injuries, the officer said.
Shortly after Suthirak surrendered, police said the two remaining inmates stabbed the warder Suthep, prompting police officers to open fire, killing both of them.
Suthep died at the scene, Pol Lt Gen Hanpol said.
"We regret that we could not save the life of warder Suthep," he said.
"He sustained several stab wounds," Pol Lt Gen Hanpol added.
Somsak Rangsiyopas, deputy chief of the Corrections Department, said the three prisoners' escape bid was well-planned.
They had cut a hole in a fence separating their section of the prison from another to make way for the escape.
Mr Somsak said he believed the three inmates had planned to climb the backhoe to scale the prison wall.
He insisted prisoners were banned from having weapons, but the trio were armed with handmade weapons, possibly crafted out of spoons and forks.
The warder's family would receive help from the department, he added.
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Writer: Saichon Srinuanjan