Mass juvenile jailbreak: eight on run

PHUKET TOWN: Eight young escapees are still on the run this afternoon following a mass breakout from the Phuket Juvenile Observation and Protection Center (PJOPC) at about lunch time. Within a couple of hours, seven youths had been caught and returned to the center. Some later told reporters that they broke out because of beatings by older children. The seven were caught about a kilometer away at the gas station opposite Tessabaan Muang Phuket School on Phun Pol Rd about 2 pm. Pongsura Gainara, Director of the PJOPC, said that the children escaped during the lunch break when they were allowed outside in the activities area. Some of them parted wire fencing so that all 15 could slip through one at a time. People who live nearby saw the children escape from the center on Rattanakosin 200 Pi Rd and telephoned the PJOPC. K. Pongsura said, “It’s natural for these children to want to escape because some are worried about their cases. Some have been here for one or two days and just want to go home.” He added that this was the second escape so far this year. “We have only three officers to supervise 90 children in the activity area, so we cannot keep an eye on every single one of them,” said K. Pongsura. “We don’t have any restraining chains and our aim is to try to make the children as comfortable as possible, so the walls are not very high.” The 15 were being held for alleged offenses involving ya bah (methamphetamine), assault, or gambling. When their cases are heard, the court will be advised of their escape. If the eight youngsters still on the run are not found within 24 hours, police will issue arrest warrants for them.

Phuket News
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