Trio Still at Large Following Irrawaddy Division Prison Break

By Salai Thant Zin 23 January 2015

PATHEIN, Irrawaddy Division — Police in Irrawaddy Division are combing their jurisdiction in search of three inmates who escaped from Hinthada Prison earlier this week.

Thet Paing Soe and Tun Tun Khaing, who were serving time for theft, and Kyaw Zeya, whose trial is ongoing, broke out of the prison in Hinthada Township at around 1 am on Jan. 21 and are still at large despite the division-wide search operation underway.

“We are trying to arrest them,” Aung Naing Moe, a police officer and spokesperson for the Irrawaddy Division Police, told The Irrawaddy. “We’ve been blocking all of their escape routes.”

Aung Naing Moe said the photos, profiles and criminal records of the escapees have been sent to every police station in the division in hopes that the information will help put the escapees back behind bars.

According to prison authorities, the three inmates were in a cell on the upper floor of Ward No. 5, which is also used as the prison’s meditation hall, when they managed to break out of the detention facility.

The men are believed to have climbed over a 15-foot high wall using blankets and clothing. Prison authorities did not discover their escape until 5 am.

“Police are searching for the escapees in Hinthada. A few days ago, I heard that they asked a liquor shop owner they are acquainted with for knives and money,” said Kyaw Thet Oo from Hinthada Rights Defenders and Promoters, a local advocacy group.

Thet Paing Soe was serving a three-year jail term for stealing a motorbike and his accomplice in the crime was Tun Tun Khaing, who was serving a one year prison sentence. Zyaw Zeya was still standing trial for stealing a coil of iron wire from a fish breeding farm.

In September 2014, three inmates broke out of a prison in Einme, Irrawaddy Division, by taking an iron-cutting saw to their cell’s bars. It is unclear if the escapees were subsequently apprehended, but police officers deemed responsible to the security lapse were punished for negligence of duty.

On Tuesday, state media reported that Burma’s deputy home affairs minister told Parliament that more than 11,000 fugitives remain at large in the country.