The three shackled prisoners, two men and a woman, ran from the court holding centre armed with a gun to a waiting Izuzu vehicle with no number plates and made good their escape via a main road with reports of a change of vehicle en route. Police set up checkpoints throughout Chonburi as they feared the prison escapees were making for the border.
An American drug dealer arrested in Pattaya with his Thai wife last July dramatically escaped from the custody of the Pattaya Provincial Court on Monday after a court police officer was shot and stabbed. The couple were aided by a Thai inmate also before the court on serious drug charges, in what appears to have been a well organised and resourced prison escape which suggests security at the court holding facility may well have been compromised.
An American man and his Thai wife accused of drug dealing broke out of the provincial court holding cells in Pattaya on Monday in a hair-raising and violent series of events. The three prisoners were before the court on serious drugs charges which carry the possibility of the death penalty.
Police officer shot, stabbed and left critically injured
A police officer at the Provincial Court was left seriously injured at the scene after having been viciously stabbed by the American man after previously being shot by the Thai inmate. Both formed part of a trio including the American’s Thai wife, who escaped the court in shackles in what appeared to be a highly organised and resources prison escape.
The three prisoners were named as 39-year-old American Bert Allen Helmus and his 31-year-old Thai wife Sirinapha Wisetrit. The Thai escapee, who launched the breakout with a 9 mm pistol, was named as 41-year-old Noi Thon Nintet.
Shots fired and mayhem as shackled trio escape
Shocked Thai officials briefed the media in the immediate aftermath of the escape which occurred at approximately 3 pm and saw dramatic scenes both within the courthouse facility and outside as the trio made good their escape with shots being fired.
Baffled police are left trying to understand how the 41-year-old Thai escapee came into possession of a 9 mm pistol which he used to progress the breakout.
Police officer left with a knife in his body
Suriyan Hongwilai, a spokesman for the Thai courts service, said that Captain Thanameth Potiphan, the injured police officer had been stabbed by the American, Bart Allen Helmus. He left the officer with a silver knife in his body after stabbing him a number of times. The police officer was reported on Monday as being in a critical condition at the local hospital.
Sunny Monday afternoon as inmates came running from the cells as soon guard opened door
The incident happened on Monday afternoon after Mr Hemlus, his wife Ms Sirinapha and the 41-year-old Thai prison inmate, Mr Noi came running out of the holding cells and quickly created a sense of chaos and mayhem.
The trio then grabbed the keys of a police officer hiding under some public seating allowing them to open the front door of the facility and emerge into the public parking area. The door had earlier been opened and this seemed to trigger the breakout.
Police chased the vehicle leading to more gunshots
Outside the building, a parked Isuzu vehicle was left in position for the use of the three escapees who ran towards it in shackles.
A gunshot was fired by the prisoners in prison clothing as they emerged into the sunshine.
This attracted the attention of other police officers who ran towards the vehicle and chased it as it moved off. Three more shots were fired.
Escaped along Chonburi route 331
The car made its escape along route 331 during the commotion which can open into three main routes from Pattaya. It is also being reported that the three inmates made a change of vehicles shortly after they left the court compound behind.
Police have set up roadblocks throughout Chonburi and believe that the escapees are determined to make it to the border probably with Cambodia to make their escape.
US Embassy briefed, border points alerted
It is understood that senior police officials from Bangkok have already descended upon Chonburi coordinate the response to the outbreak.
The Chief of Chonburi Police, General Nanthachart Supamongkhol, has told reporters that police officials have already briefed the US Embassy on the matter.
Thai police investigation to focus on how security at the Provincial Court was compromised
‘The three prisoners who escaped were all in chains at the time. We are investigating how they had weapons with them,’ he said. ‘Officers are checking CCTV to trace the escape route and find the fugitives.
Lieutenant General Nanthachart warned that the escapees were extremely dangerous and should not be engaged in any way by the public.
He also warned that there would be repercussions for those involved or found to be complicit in facilitating the escape which obviously compromised security at the Provincial Court holding centre.
‘We cannot determine how the prisoners received a 9mm pistol but if we find any accomplices they will be punished severely.’
All three escapees were facing the real prospect of the death penalty as serious drug trafficking
The three escaped prisoners were all facing serious criminal charges involving large quantities of drugs which would have made them eligible for the death sentence which has been increasingly imposed on drug kingpins at the higher echelons as the drug war reaches a new level of fury in Thailand with record volumes of drugs flooding the kingdom and huge numbers being incarcerated.
American and his Thai wife arrested this July in Pattaya for drug dealing after police operation
Mr Noi, the 41 year old Thai drug dealer was facing charges of being in possession of over 200,000 methamphetamine pills and 100 ecstasy pills while the 39 American, Bert Allen Helmut and his 31-year-old Thai wife Sirinapha Wisetrit were arrested in the Bang La Mung area of Pattaya on July 13th last after police officers staged a sting operation in which the couple sold 10 grams of crystal methamphetamine.
Police had been monitoring the activities of the couple for months in the resort city and then launched a raid on their apartment leading to their arrest and follow on charges for drug trafficking, an offence in Thailand with has severe legal consequences.
Police found 1 kg of drugs, a gun with ammunition and over ฿200,000 in cash in the July raid
The raid on their apartment in Bang Lamung found over 1 kg of the crystal methamphetamine in addition to a firearm, a large quantity of ammunition and over ฿200,000 in cash.
Bert Allen Helmut admitted the offences to the police. It was clear that he was an ambitious drug dealer and had been sourcing drug supplies on the dark web.
After his violent and cowardly knife attack on the court officer yesterday which constitutes attempted murder, we also now know that he is a dangerous individual capable of any action against those who stand in his way.
+ American drug gangster escapes from custody in Pattaya with Thai wife in armed prison break with a Thai man also facing the death penalty. Police officer injuredhttps://www.thaiexaminer.com/thai-news-foreigners/2019/11/05/court-prison-escape-pattaya-american-drig-dealer-thai-wife-police-officer-bert-allen-helmus/James Morris reports from Pattaya
Posted by ThaiExaminer.com on Tuesday, November 5, 2019