More phones found as jail crackdown continues

May 18, 2012
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The commander of the Bang Khwang maximum security prison in Nonthaburi has been placed under disciplinary investigation after a prison search late on Wednesday night turned up a number of mobile phones and a large number of contraband items.

Seventy-three DVD players and 30 music player units were found in the prison, apart from 30 mobile handsets, which Corrections Department Suchart Wonganantachai said were smuggled into the prison. He placed the blame on prison guards – but said relevant officials and chiefs of each detention area involved would also be held responsible.

Five mobile phones had their SIM cards locked by inmates and are undergoing the first scrutiny, he said. Seven prisons, out of a total 143 across the country, have been declared ‘white prisons’ – those undergoing reform or are regarded as clean after a series of thorough searches – under a department campaign following the crackdown. Suchart did not name the facilities.

The four-hour search at the maximum security prison is part of a crackdown on in-prison drug dealing by inmates with the help of corrupt prison guards. The search, involving a 600-strong force of policemen assisting 150 prison guards, also found 200 inmates selected randomly from a thousand tested positive for drug use.

A search at a Samut Sakhon prison yesterday found four mobile phones, and an ‘ice’-consuming device. A 230-strong force conducted the dawn raid,which also found eight SIM cards and homemade weapons, while 32 inmates tested positive for drug use.

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