Theerayut Chukaew, 32, who is on the Police Region 8 blacklist as a known gunman, and Somchai Thaiburi, 40, broke out of Nakhon Sri Thammarat correctional institution for young offenders about 5am.
The main prison is overcrowded and they were being held at the young offenders’ centre instead.
Theerayut has been charged with possessing war weapons, attempted murder and drug charges, while Somchai has been convicted on drug charges and sentenced to 10 years and four months in prison.
Theerayut, the most wanted hitman on the Police Region 8 blacklist, exchanged shots with police and soldiers in the Ron Phibun district of Nakhon Sri Thammarat in February last year. One soldier was wounded and the suspect fled. He later surrendered to police and his case was still before the court.
Three blankets tied together into a 10-metre rope were found outside the prison’s 10-metre-high wall after their escape was noticed. A 10-metre-long PVC pipe was also found near the inside wall in the 9-rai compound, Thai media reported.
Prison officials were later informed that one escapee was spotted in Phrommakhiri district and was picked up by a relative riding on a red motorcycle. The area was searched but no trace was found of either of the two men. It was thought they might have fled into the jungle in nearby Ron Phibun and Tha Sala districts.
One warder said the young offenders’ facility was being used to house inmates in all criminal cases pending court trial, not only those below age 25 as before.
Security there was not as tight as at maximum-security prisons, but the Nakhon Sri Thammarat Central Prison was very overcrowded and there was no room for any more prisoners, the warder said.
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