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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Bali escape: Fresh questions emerge over 4 men who tunnelled out of prison

WHERE are the passports of the four foreigners who escaped from Kerobokan jail this week? No-one seems to know.

How did a water drain/waste tunnel that lead from inside the jail to the outside go undetected for so long, especially as the jail’s governor admits he walked past it regularly?

And when the tunnel was detected, after the four staged their brazen escape, why was its exit, on a busy Bali road, simply covered over with some grate and a few rocks?

Then there is the issue of Australian man, Shaun Edward Davidson’s active Facebook page, containing video clearly filmed inside a cell at Kerobokan jail with another prisoner.

Authorities say they are working to uncover whether it was updated from inside jail or not.

And how did four men exit from a tiny muddy tunnel, just 50 x 75cm in width at its opening, onto the side of a busy Kerobokan street at peak hour without a single sighting of them, especially as they would have been covered in mud and slime?

As police throw a dragnet around Bali and the search for the escapees enters its third day with no trace of them, aside from a head torch and some clothes dumped in the so-called escape tunnel, there are more questions than answers.

Police will today attempt to enter the tunnel, assuming it does not rain and flood, in a bid to ensure the four are not stuck underground and drowned.

Here are the questions:

All four escapees are foreigners but none of the authorities involved in their prosecution and incarceration appear to know where their passports are located.

Jail Governor Tonny Nainggolan says the jail does not have their passports.

The Corrections chief of Bali’s Law and Human Rights Ministry, Surung Pasaribu, says the Ministry does not have the passports, nor does Immigration and nor do the Prosecutors.

Asked last night, about the passport whereabouts, Mr Pasaribu said: “I don’t know yet. We have told the governor to take the passports of all foreign inmates as they enter Kerobokan. We haven’t co-ordinated yet with (their) Consulates related to the passports.”

Mr Pasaribu went on to say that Davidson is an expert in making fake identities. Not strictly correct. He was caught in possession of another Australian man’s passport, which he was using but he didn’t make it.

He found it in a hotel and later paid a local in Bali to create a false visa for him in a different name.

How did the so-called escape tunnel exist for so long without anyone in authority knowing about it? And why, if it was used to escape, was there no fresh dirt dug around its entrance?

Jail Governor Tonny Nainggolan admits he didn’t know there was a tunnel at that location, despite passing it at least once a week. He thought it was a septic tank.

Asked why he didn’t know there was even a tunnel there, Mr Nainggolan said: “I don’t know. We thought it was a septic tank, not a tunnel because it is covered by cement.

“I pass the area around once a week but I never check it. I never feel suspicious that it is a tunnel because I thought it was a septic tank, because it is next to the clinic’s toilet.”

Why didn’t any of the jail’s CCTV cameras capture anything of interest to the escape investigation?

And why did authorities initially say the cameras were not working, then say they were?

According to Mr Nainggolan all 25 of the jail’s CCTV cameras were working at the time but the one camera in the vicinity was not focused on the tunnel.

The tunnel exited on a busy road right beneath a guard tower. But the guard tower was unmanned at the time and no-one saw anything in that area.

Mr Nainggolan says the guard tower in question was not manned due to staff shortages at the overcrowded jail.

Only 10 guards were working at the time of the escape, monitoring 1378 prisoners and there were not enough guards to staff all control towers. Hence the CCTV cameras which now appear to have shown nothing suspicious or of any use to the hunt for the four.

Mr Nainggolan says he had requested an extra 200 staff recently but had received no response.
The jail has long been overcapacity — built for only 323 prisoners, there are now 1378 prisoners, less the four escapees.

Davidson was clearly active on Facebook, including a Live Video chat on May 12 showing him and a fellow prisoner he describes as Bashir, talking live to people on the outside, from what is clearly shown as a cell in Kerobokan.

Mr Nainggolan says authorities are tracking the Facebook page to uncover whether it was updated from inside the jail or whether someone on the outside was updating it for him.

Given he was live chatting to people outside, it seems indisputable that Davidson was in control of the page from his cell in a jail where electronic equipment, mobile phones and the internet are contraband, except in workshop areas.

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