Leader of Hpa-an Prison Break Shot by Police, Died in Hospital

By Lawi Weng 17 September 2018

Of 41 prisoners who escaped from Hpa-an Prison on Sunday morning, 14 have been recaptured, according to reports from police in the city of Hpa-an, the capital of Karen State.

“We cooperated with other friendship organizations including community leaders to arrest the escaped prisoners. We were able to arrest 14 people before 7 p.m.,” said a report posted on the Hpa-an Township Police Facebook page on Sunday night.

The inmates of Hpa-an Prison, located in Taungkalay Village, were clearing bushes inside the prison grounds on Sunday morning. Some of the prisoners beat a truck driver, a member of the prison staff, who intended to load rubbish and cleared vegetation on the truck to be taken outside. Police reports say he was wounded in the attack and is receiving treatment in hospital.

The prisoners were able to drive out of the prison as soon as they seized the truck. They drove about 22.5 kilometers (14 miles) outside the village and ran into nearby jungle and other villages to hide.

Among the escapees, a number of them are serving long sentences, according to the police. The recaptured prisoners are serving sentences of six months to 13 years.

Meanwhile, police have requested that the public cooperates with them for the arrest of the escapees who are still on the run or in hiding. The police have published photos of the escaped prisoners online and have asked the public to inform them if they are seen.

The police have launched a search party and deployed a number of police vehicles in a major search operation launched yesterday in the area around Hpa-an Township, with Police Colonel Aung Myat Moe leading the operation.

Inmate Kyaw Main Hla, who lead the prison break, was shot yesterday during the police search operation and died later in hospital in Hpa-an. He had been serving a life sentence at the time of the escape.

“He was wounded and died in the hospital,” said U Kyin Naing, a local police officer who participating in the manhunt.

U Kyin Naing said the police are still searching for the other escaped prisoners in the jungles around the nearby villages.

“We are investigating where they are hiding,” he said.

The Myanmar Army, the local police force and the Karen Border Guard Force are meanwhile working together in the joint search operation to locate and recapture the escaped prisoners. Police are publishing ongoing reports on the manhunt operations online.