The National, Wednesday 27th March, 2013
CORRECTIONAL Services Minister Jim Simatab has warned the 46 prison escapees still on the run in Madang to stay out of trouble and voluntarily surrender to prison and police authorities.
Simatab said in a statement yesterday of the 49 inmates who escaped from the Beon jail last Thursday, four had been captured and one surrendered to police.
He said the escapees posed a serious threat to the livelihood of communities where they were taking refuge.
“Our sincere appeal to the prisoners on the run is that: be a positive citizen and don’t endanger your own life by being on the run and become more tangled with unlawful conduct and behaviour,” he said.
Simatab said the long arm of law would not rest until the escapees were captured.
He urged communities, non-government organisations and churches to cooperate and hand over the escapees.
The minister also provided details of the escapees to warn the public on how dangerous they were.
He also confirmed that out of the 49 escapees, six were remand detainees awaiting trial while the rest were convicted.
Simatab said the escapees’ category of convictions in terms of years in prison ranged from two life convictions to the lowest being one year for possession of offensive weapons.
The majority of them were serving terms ranging from 10 years to 32 years.
He said most were convicted for murder, rape and armed robbery. “These are hardcore, highly dangerous and unpredictable felons or prisoners,” the minister said. “My commissioner and I, the minister, would not listen to any appeal or demand from the escaped prisoners. These are highly dangerous individuals and anybody, including relatives, harboring them is breaking the law.” Commissioner Martin Balthazar reiterated that claims by the escapees were baseless as Beon jail was a modern facility that supported inmates adequately.