8 Feb 2010

PNG police chief recognises public help in arrest of notorious prison escaper

3:00 pm on 8 February 2010

Papua New Guinea police have recaptured the country's most wanted criminal who escaped from Port Moresby's Bomana Maximum Security prison nearly a month ago.

William Kapris was one of 12 of the country's toughest prisoners who easily escaped after a warder was taken hostage and a woman posing as a lawyer pulled a gun on guards.

A nationwide manhunt was launched, while the Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, stripped the Correctional Services Minister, Tony Aimo, of his portfolio and sacked the Prison Commissioner, Richard Sikani, over the mass breakout.

Kapris, who is accused of a series of major bank robberies, rape, the hi-jacking of a plane, and the alleged murder of a police officer, was recaptured in Port Moresby on Saturday afternoon.

PNG's Police Commissioner Gari Baki says the public's assistance was vital to the police operation.

"My appeal to members of the public is for them to continuously provide a similar type of information to police. Not only for the arrest of those remaining [of the] 12 that came out of Bomana, but for the rest of any of the prison escapees around Papua New Guinea. They should be contacting their police personnel in the provinces - just to help out on the hunt."

Gari Baki says four of the 12 have now been recaptured.