An American man has escaped a Balinese prison – and remains at large – after staging a jailbreak.
Chrishan Beasley, 32, apparently sawed his way out his steel prison cell bars, climbed down using a rope, then possibly overcame the outer wall by using a ladder workers had left lying around to get over the final hurdle.
Kerobokan prison – infamous for being overcrowded, understaffed, drug-filled and brutally violent – seems to also be pretty easy to get out of.
Beasley was accompanied by another American, Paul Anthony Hoffman, 57, though the elder man was caught shortly after.
In June this year, 4 other prisoners escaped the same prison by digging a tunnel, with 2 men still on the run. Even more impressive a jailbreak was in May in Sumatra, where 440 prisoners sprinted out of a crowded prison when they were let out of their cells for Friday prayers.
Beasley was imprisoned for possession of 5.7 grams of hashish. Although this is probably considered breakfast for the Californian, drug trafficking carries the maximum penalty of death in Indonesia.
His arrest is part of a wider crackdown on drug trafficking, which resembles a lighter version of the violent drug war being waged in the Philippines by President Duterte. In response to the Kerobokan escapees in June, Jokowi stated to law enforcement officers:
“Be firm, especially to foreign drug dealers who enter the country and resist arrest… Shoot them because we indeed are in a narcotics emergency position now.”
Drug-related arrests have swelled the nation’s prisons, which are routinely understaffed and in poor condition. Surung Pasaribu of the local office of the Law and Human Rights Ministry stated that not only were there a shortage of guards, but the prison was built to house 300 people. Kerobokan has nearly 1,600 inmates.
Paul Conibeer, the New Zealand author who wrote the famous book “I Survived Kerobokan” after spending several months there in 2012, said the prison was filled with too many inmates, as well as corrupt guards who turned a blind eye to drug use and violence. He says:
“One of the things that really upsets me about it is that you get the death penalty for drugs and yet the place … is full of drugs.”