The chief of Sukhothai Prison was transferred on Tuesday to an inactive post at the Corrections Department after he failed to meet a 48-hour deadline to recapture two escapees.
Department director-general Narat Sawettanan said that as the deadline – imposed following the jailbreak on Saturday night – had passed without any concrete results, Samroeng Sawadee was being transferred to an inactive post at the agency pending an investigation into the prisoners’ escape.
He said Thornthan Buaking, the chief of Nakhon Si Tammarat Central Prison, was being made acting chief of Sukhothai Prison, from which the inmates had escaped.
Sukhothai Prison is a relatively small facility that usually has 50 officers during week-day periods, but it only had three guards on duty on the weekend night shift when the jailbreak occurred, he explained.
He added that a fact-finding panel was also investigating whether the escapees had accomplices.
The two inmates apparently slipped out of the jail on Saturday night by climbing up their detention cell’s ceiling shaft and scaling down the east-side prison fence after making a rope out of torn blankets.
Pol Lt-Colonel Narong Utbuawong of Mueang Sukhothai police station said Surasak Mora, 41, and Chainarong Art-pan, 33, had escaped from the prison at around 8pm on Saturday.
One of them then stole a motorcycle that was parked in front of a nearby house with a key still in the ignition, according to homeowner Krongthong Sangthong, who ran out of her house when she heard the engine start, only to find it was too late.
Chainarong was in jail for possession of 43.6 grams of crystal meth, or “ice”, while Surasak was behind bars for possession of 16,000 methamphetamine pills.