PHUKET: A pre-dawn search of Phuket Prison today failed to uncover any drugs or contraband being hidden by prisoners.
The mass raid of the entire compound was held to establish the facility’s status as a Department of Corrections “White Prison”.
Phuket Governor Maitri Inthusutwas led about 100 officers, including Phuket Provincial Police Deputy Commander Arayapan Pukbuakao and Phuket Prison Chief Rapin Nichanon, in conducting the mass search, which began at 5:30am.
Each of the 2,142 male prisoners and 379 female prisoners were searched, as were their personal lockers, sleeping quarters, the infirmary and other areas where officers believed contraband could be hidden.
A total of 1,300 inmates were randomly selected and tested for drugs. None tested positive.
Governor Maitri credited the prison officers’ thoroughness for the prison’s drug-free condition.
“The prison is clean of drugs because the prison officials are persistent in checking up on the prisoners,” he told the press.
Prison Chief Rapin explained his officers were diligent in conducting searches and were specially vigilant in checking inmates returning from appearances in court.
“We sometimes find prisoners trying to sneak mobile phones and drugs into the prison, but we catch them every time,” he said.
Phuket Provincial Police Deputy Commander Arayapan Pukbuakao told the Phuket Gazette, “According to police information, Phuket Prison is also clean of any contact with drug networks operating beyond the prison walls.
“Everything we have checked shows that the prison genuinely deserves to be called a White Prison.”
Though he praised the prison’s drug-free status, Governor Maitri expressed concern about the crowded conditions at Phuket’s only prison.
“The number of prisoners here is about three times the facility’s capacity,” he noted.
— Kritsada Mueanhawong
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