Police identify third warden in case of convict who escaped

Police identify third warden in case of convict who escaped

NAKHON SI THAMMARAT: Police will arrest a third prison warden allegedly connected with the escape of Chaowalit Thongduang, alias "Sia Paeng Nanod", a convict, from hospital on Oct 22.

The Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases on Friday night approved an arrest warrant for Weerachai Nuduang of Nakhon Si Thammarat Central Prison. He was charged under Section 157 of the Criminal Code, which covers dereliction of duty, according to provincial police chief Pol Maj Gen Somchai Suetortrakul.

Mr Weerachai allegedly changed Chaowalit's restraints a day before the prisoner escaped from the hospital. He is the third warden to face an arrest warrant in the case.

Chaowalit, 37, was serving time for attempted murder when he fled from Maharat Nakhon Si Thammarat Hospital on Oct 22, where he was taken for dental treatment and subsequently admitted after collapsing due to reported leg pain. He remains at large.

The court on Friday approved arrest warrants for two prison wardens -- Warinthorn Thongprachong, 41, and Ekkalak Chaiyakarn, 35 -- on charges of dereliction of duty in connection with Chaowalit's escape.

Yesterday morning, Mr Warinthorn and Mr Ekkalak contacted Pol Maj Gen Somchai, via their lawyer, to surrender, police said.

Police have submitted the third arrest warrant for Mr Weerachai and he will be ordered by his superior to turn himself in, police said.

Seven suspects who allegedly aided Chaowalit's escape have been arrested, the police said.

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 a botched abduction on Sept 2, 2019, in the province.

He began serving his sentence at Phatthalung Prison in January 2022 and was transferred to Nakhon Si Thammarat Prison on Aug 7.

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