By FRANCIS POKA
THE two convicts and 82 remandees who broke out of Western Highlands’ Baisu prison last Tuesday are believed to have bribed prison warders with K3,000 to buy new wire cutters (pliers).
The prisoners and remandees fled by cutting the security cyclone-wired fencing at about 2pm while the prison guards were changing shift.
It was Baisu’s biggest mass breakout.
On and off-duty Correctional Services (CS) officers recaptured 21 of the escapees, including a convict.
The new pliers used by the escapees was found in the trousers of a recaptured remandee.
The recaptured remandee told the CS officers: “Yu kisim moni bilong mi na larim mi go na why yu painim mi na kisim mi gen?” (you received my money and let me escapee, and why are you coming after me and recapturing me?)
Baisu prison commanding officer Chief Supt Simon Sobaim said those officers involved in the mass breakout would be seriously dealt with.
“They face disciplinary actions and will also be referred to the police for possible arrest and investigation,” he said.
Mr Sobaim said there were several attempted breakouts last year but “our quick action stopped them”.
“Body searches were conducted in the prisoners’ compound and very sensitive items like mobile phones were confiscated,” he said.
Mr Sobaim said the same information was received from officers and “we conducted an immediate search, seizing K1,000 and a mobile phone”.
He said he was away in Port Moresby on compassionate leave when the breakout occurred.
“The breakout was planned with the help of a few disgruntled officers who waited for the opportunity when I went away.
“A probe team will be set up to determine who planned the mass breakout and who were the (CS) officers involved,” he said.
The team is to start work after the CS commanders’ conference in Lae this week.
Mr Sobaim said CS officers and police were still looking for the fugitives.
He said some of the criminals were dangerous and appealed to the people to exercise personal safety precautions and to be alert of strangers among them.