MANDALAY — Police have tightened security in Homalin, Sagaing Division, after eight detainees—two of whom remain at large—escaped from the local police station’s detention facility.
Police said the eight men, accused of narcotics trafficking, were being held at a stilt-elevated confinement building near the station and managed to break through the floor, escaping on Thursday morning at 1:45 am.
“Six of them were rearrested within a few hours. We are now tightening up the security … and searching the area around the town thoroughly, with special forces, to find the two who are still at large,” said a duty officer from Homalin Township.
A Homalin resident with close contacts at the police station said the police had ramped up their anti-narcotics efforts in recent weeks, with a slew of related arrests straining the detention capacity of local law enforcement.
Another source said the confinement building was too small and speculated that the cramped conditions had prompted the escape attempt.
“The police built a new building but with the increasing number of detainees, the room, which is capable of holding 40 people, was filled with 53 detainees. We think that’s why they tried to escape,” he said.
However, the Homalin duty officer downplayed overcrowding as a factor.
“We think they wanted to escape from the charges. However, we are still questioning them and divisional officials are on their way to make an inquiry into the case too,” he said.
Last year, both male and female detainees staged a protest against conditions at the station, where 80 men and women were locked together in a room meant for a maximum of 40 people. Ceding to their demands to separate the men and women and alleviate overcrowding, authorities built a second building.