Myanmar jailbreakers could be heading to Thailand

Myanmar jailbreakers could be heading to Thailand

This recent undated photo shows the entrance of Hpa-An prison building in Karen State before the prison break on Sunday. (AFP photo)
This recent undated photo shows the entrance of Hpa-An prison building in Karen State before the prison break on Sunday. (AFP photo)

YANGON: More than 30 inmates on the run after a Myanmar jailbreak may try to cross into Thailand, an official said Monday, a day after they hijacked a garbage truck and ploughed through the prison gates.

The fugitives broke out of Hpa-An jail in the country's eastern Karen state -- which borders Thailand -- on Sunday morning.

State media said 10 of the 41 escapees had been recaptured while police are scouring nearby villages for those still at large.

The jailbreak has left villagers near the prison scared, local official Khin Thet Mar told AFP.

"(The escaped prisoners) don't have anything to eat or money to use so people think they might threaten them to get what they need," she said.

"They might have fled to Thailand but the authorities here are trying to recapture them by blocking possible escape routes."

The prisoners escaped after pulling the driver down from a garbage truck and then crashing through the gates, leaving them wrenched off their hinges.

The getaway vehicle was found later on Sunday stuck in the mud some 200 kilometres away by road towards the Thai border, said state-run paper The Global New Light of Myanmar.

The report said the ringleader was serving a life prison term without parole for "drug trafficking, illegal possession of arms and attempted murder".

In total, 29 of the 41 prisoners had been sentenced while 12 were still facing trial, Khin Thet Mar confirmed.

Archive photographs of the prison, which holds around 2,000 prisoners, showed a large sign in English on the outside reading "Kind but Firm".


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