Four Samui runaway inmates recaptured

Four inmates who escaped from Koh Samui Court on Friday afternoon are later recaptured separately on the island in Surat Thani. (Photo by Supapong Chaolan)

SURAT THANI: Four inmates who escaped from the Koh Samui Court after being taken to trial on Friday afternoon have been recaptured separately on the island late on Friday.

Police were despatched to search for the inmates after being alerted at around 4.30pm.

Shortly after leaving the courtroom to enter a truck back to the prison on Friday, the four inmates immediately ran to a fence and jumped over it to escape through coconut plantations and later disappeared into a mountain behind the court.

Some 200 local officials and rescue volunteers joined police in the hunt for the four escapees, who were identified as Paithoon Harnsuwan, Naruebet Paengthong, Porn-anan Maneesri and Thanawat Boonthan.  All but Naruebet were drug inmates. Naruebet was facing a theft charge.

Three police teams searched for the inmates at all possible hideouts on the island. Checkpoints were put up around the island and ferry piers to block the escape routes.

The hunt took several hours before traces of footprints belonging to the escapees and two brown prisoners’ uniforms were found at Bang Sao Thong waterfall. This led the police to arrest two of the escapees at the waterfall on Friday night

Naruebet and Porn-anan, whose legs were still shackled when found, apparently looked exhausted.

The two others — Thanawat and Paithoon — were subsequently recaptured at abandoned living quarters of workers in tambon Mared. A friend who helped them hide at the living quarters and brought them a change of clothes was also caught.

During the interrogation, Paithoon claimed he had not planned to escape but did so when he saw the three other inmates running before being taken to the prison truck.

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