19 Aug 2004

Fiji police tighten security after prison breakout threat

10:33 am on 19 August 2004

Fiji police have sharply increased security around two major prisons in the west of the main island of Viti Levu after receiving reports that mass breakouts were planned for today.

The Fiji Times says police have mounted roadblocks and placed crocodile teeth on all approaches to the Lautoka Prison which has 400 inmates, and Namosau Prison in Ba.

Police in Lautoka are quoted as saying that prison wardens were tipped off about plans for a mass breakout today.

The police commander for the western division, Eroni Antonio, said he had received similar report of a planned uprising at Ba Prison.

A hardened criminal who is now released is reported to have been planning to storm into Lautoka Prison to help in the breakout.

Mr Antonio has confirmed that the man was taken into custody but released after questioning.

He has urged members of the public to come forward if they are aware of any plans to cause disturbances in the west of Viti Levu.