20 Aug 2010

Tonga police chief enquiring into spate of prison escapes

1:54 pm on 20 August 2010

Tonga's Police Commander has launched an inquiry into how thirty three prisoners have managed to escape over the past eight months.

Most of the escapees have been recaptured but Chris Kelley says two prisoners are still at large and it is possible they may have fled Tongatapu.

He says inmates will be interviewed as part of the inquiry to try and find out what is behind the spate of escapes.

"A number of them have just simply walked away from work parties, which is not a difficult thing to do, or run off from work parties. A number have been able to escape from the compound area. The prisons are just in the process of transferring from the current old facilities to the new facilities that are being built, so that in itself will probably reduce the opportunity for people to leave."

Police Commander Kelley says the new prison is due to open next month and the inquiry is expected to take three weeks.