Two more officials sought for helping prison escapee

Two more officials sought for helping prison escapee

Accused getaway driver caught but ‘Sia Paeng Na Nod’ still at large 10 days after fleeing hospital

Sutiwas Khunnarong, 28, a suspect wanted for driving the getaway car with escaped convict “Sia Paeng Na Nod” in it, is taken to the Muang district police station in Nakhon Si Thammarat on Wednesday after he was arrested in Ratchaburi. (Photo: Nujaree Rakrun)
Sutiwas Khunnarong, 28, a suspect wanted for driving the getaway car with escaped convict “Sia Paeng Na Nod” in it, is taken to the Muang district police station in Nakhon Si Thammarat on Wednesday after he was arrested in Ratchaburi. (Photo: Nujaree Rakrun)

Arrest warrants have been approved for two public servants in connection with aiding the escape of Chaowalit Thongduang, a prisoner who fled from a Nakhon Si Thammarat hospital on Oct 22.

Police were hunting the unidentified officials after the Nakhon Si Thammarat provincial court on Wednesday night approved the warrants. The pair were expected to turn themselves in to police in one or two days, a police source said on Thursday.

Chaowalit, 37, alias “Sia Paeng Na Nod”, was serving time for attempted murder when he escaped from the hospital on Oct 22. He had been taken there for dental treatment and was subsequently admitted after collapsing, citing severe leg pain. He remains at large.

On Tuesday, police arrested Sutiwas Khunnarong, 28, who is accused of driving the car that took Chaowalit from the hospital, in Ratchaburi province.

Sutiwas, alias Non Thung Lan, was taken to the Muang district police station in Nakhon Si Thammarat for questioning on Wednesday. He initially denied any involvement, but after intense questioning, he admitted to having abetted the escape.

He reportedly told police that he picked up the prisoner from the hospital and drove him away in a car. On the escape route, he switched to a pickup truck and dropped Chaowalit off in an area in the Banthat mountain range in Phatthalung province.

Police were planning to take Mr Sutiwas to the Maharat Nakhon Si Thammarat Hospital on Thursday to show how he helped the prisoner escape.

On Wednesday, a Songkhla provincial prosecutor whose name was not revealed filed a report with police after receiving a life-threatening letter from a friend of Chaowalit.

The letter, dated Oct 27, demanded the prosecutor return money to Chaowalit or he and his family would risk death.

The prosecutor denied personally knowing the runaway prisoner, adding that he had been transferred to work in Songkhla from the Office of Juvenile and Family Prosecution in Phatthalung in April.

Chaowalit was sentenced to 20 years and six months in jail last year by the Phatthalung Provincial Court for attempted murder in connection with an armed attack on police during an attempted abduction on Sept 2, 2019, in Phatthalung.

He began serving his sentence at Phatthalung Prison in January 2022 and was transferred to Nakhon Si Thammarat Prison on Aug 7 this year. He also faces multiple other criminal charges.

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