24 Jun 2011

Tonga police seek public help to catch two escapees

1:27 pm on 24 June 2011

Police in Tonga are asking for help from the public to find two men who escaped from the new Huatolitoli Prison two weeks ago.

It is the first escape from the prison facility opened earlier this year.

The Police Commander Chris Kelley says it was a classic escape with the two men sawing their way through bars to flee.

He says the two men are still on the run.

"The prison of course comes under the Prison Service and not the Police but I understand it's the first escape from the new facilities that were opened earlier in the year. Certainly, you know it's of concern to us that prisoners can escape but we have to deal with that and we're currently looking for them."

Commander Kelley says he has no reason to believe the prisoners have left Tonga and says it's likely they are getting help to avoid authorities.

Last year, an enquiry was launched to find out why 33 prisoners had escaped from the old prison within eight months.