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Nearly blind prisoner escapes hospital after surgery



PHUKET: Escaped prisoner Nantachai Boomrak, 23, having absconded from Vachira Phuket Hospital on August 4, found himself back behind bars the next day.

Mr Nantachai was originally placed in the hospital by Provincial Prison Chief Rapin Nichanon, who said doctors had informed him that Mr Nantachai would go blind if he did not receive immediate treatment for cataracts.

“The Phuket Prison officer who took Mr Nantachai to the hospital contacted me and asked for permission to get him treated. I felt bad for him since he is still a young man, so I gave my permission for him to be sent to the hospital,” said Chief Rapin.

Mr Nantachai had been in the hospital for 10 days, and was recovering from the cataract surgery, before he fled.

The decision for him to remain under medical supervision was made as the prison authorities deemed it untenable to return him to the hospital every hour for the eye-drop treatment required.

While his prison guardians were out having dinner, Mr Nantachai and his visiting 14-year-old “female friend” fled the hospital. When the guards returned, they were informed by a hospital security guard that Mr Nantachai had left the hospital and caught a ride on a motorbike with a friend.

Chief Rapin immediately organized a search of the local area, but it failed to locate Mr Nantachai.

“We contacted his mother in Krabi. She told us he had not turned up at home and suspected that he might still be with his girlfriend [sic].

“I told her that if she brought her son back to prison we would take no action against him. She promised to do what she could,” said Chief Rapin.

Chief Rapin also spoke with the mother of Mr Nantachai’s girlfriend in Phatthalung province. She told the chief that she was happy to help as she didn’t want her daughter associating with Mr Nantachai.

Acting on a tip-off, prison officers assisted by Phuket Police raided a residence in Koh Sireh on the evening of August 5. Unfortunately, Mr Nantachai got the drop on them and escaped through a back window.

His girlfriend was taken in for questioning, but was later released. But what she didn’t know was that the authorities were following her movements, hoping the pair would arrange to meet.

Arrange to meet they did, only this time the police were quicker and got their man.

Mr Nantachai is now waiting to be sentenced by Phuket Provincial Court for his original crime, possession of 0.5 grams of ya ice (crystal methamphetamine), and now for escaping from custody as well.

“Since he intended to escape, I will have to file a report to police to that effect. I will also file a report to the police about his friend who drove him away from the hospital,” said Chief Rapin.

— Chutharat Plerin


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