Officials from the Phuket DJOP at 3pm yesterday called for emergency assistance from Phuket Prison, Provincial Police and others to assist in handling a riot caused by inmates that had broken out inside the facility.
Phuket DJOP Director Ms Rawee Kuhamuk said the inmates, mostly teenagers, had destroyed property and items inside the food court and main hall on the first floor and that staff were at the facility were unable to control them due to their numbers.
Ms Rawee said, “We tried to stop and reason with them, but they did not listen. They let off fire extinguishers, smashed a glass partition between the food court and activity room, threw food on the floor and destroyed chairs and lockers.”
By 3:45pm a team of officials led by Phuket Prison Director Pichit Wanjit and Phuket City Police Chief Kamol Osiri arrived at the Phuket DJOP and were led to the area where the incident had taken place.
Upon their arrival, a group of 35 inmates were still running amok causing chaos.
Officials managed to surrounded them and separated four inmates who were said to have been the instigators of the riot.
Vice Governor, Chokdee Amornwat; Juvenile Family Court Judge, Chartchai Suksai and Provincial Police Deputy Chief, Col Sermpan Sirikong later arrived at the facility to join the investigation.
At this time, the four inmates said to have caused the riots were being held on the second floor of the facility, and after receiving a verbal warning from officials were taken to Phuket Provincial Prison.
Ms Rawee added, “The main instigator is a 17-year-old inmate named A (not his real name) who was charged with drug (kratom) possession. He also took part in the Thalang riots last October.
“A had picked on a new arrival at the facility and tried to intimidate him. After this, other inmates joined him and started causing all sort of problems and disturbances. This was especially the case on visiting days such as today,” she said.
“We did not report previous incidents to the authorities and tried to solve the problem by changing their family visit days from three days a week to everyday. We also organised a football game for them so they could enjoy each other’s company and bond.
“A has already been in and out of the DJOP four times on drug charges. His latest offence was for drug possession and his participation in the Thalang riots,” she said.