Authorities raid Trang prison; detain, move riot leaders to separate prisons


TRANG, Feb 7 – Trang provincial prison authorities raided inmates’ dormitories on Tuesday, detaining and separating some 100 riot leaders, and moving them to other provincial prisons to prevent further turmoil in the jail.

Trang prison commander Krit Wongvech led some 300 wardens, police and volunteers to search the prison compound in Zones 1 and 2 and detained 107 inmates involved in Monday’s riot.

Thirty were hardliners while 77 others were key followers who staged the protest, set mattresses afire and used slingshots against prison guards to vent their anger.

The 107 will be separated and moved to central prisons in Phatthalung, Nakhon Si Thammarat and Songkhla, Mr Krit said.

He told a news conference after separating the inmates that the prison would consider the inmates’ eight-point demand including relaxation of strict jail regulations, improvement of inmates’ welfare, provision of sufficient medication and clean drinking water, as well as permission for delivering parcels to the prisoners and that any issue which is beyond his authority would be forwarded to the Department of Corrections for consideration.

However, he said, the demand on transfer of four prison wardens was unreasonable as the four have performed well in intercepting drugs and mobile phones smuggled into the prison.

The transfer of the 107 inmates was aimed to prevent any repetition of the riot, he said.

Mr Krit said that the core riot leaders were mostly drug-related convicts and were involved in an earlier prison riot in Nakhon Si Thammarat.

The riot followed the prisoners learning that those convicted on drug charge would be transferred to the maximum-security Khao Bin Prison in Ratchaburi, which is more strictly regulated, so that the leaders of the inmates incited their fellows to rise against the plan which led to the riot, he said.