21 Aug 2010

Inquiry being held after 33 prison escapes

8:01 pm on 21 August 2010

An inquiry is being held in Tonga into how 33 prisoners have managed to escape over the past eight months.

Two prisoners are still at large and Police Commander Chris Kelley says it is possible they 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.

He says a number of escapers simply walked away from work parties, which, he acknowledged, is not difficult to do.

However, a new prison is due to open next month, which, Commander Kelley says, will probably reduce the opportunity for people to leave.

The inquiry is expected to take three weeks.