An accused French drug trafficker has broken out of an Indonesian jail by sawing through bars on a second floor window and rappelling to freedom with a sarong, police said Monday, as they launched a manhunt to find the fugitive.
Felix Dorfin’s daring escape happened Sunday evening at a police detention centre on Lombok island, where the 35-year-old was awaiting trial in a possible death penalty case.
“He escaped through the window on the second floor in the detention centre and, using a sarong and curtains which were tied together, he climbed down and then escaped,” West Nusa Tenggara police spokesman I Komang Suartana told AFP.
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Police believe Dorfin is still on Lombok and have deployed officers to scour the island to search for him, Suartana added.
The Frenchman was arrested in September allegedly carrying a false-bottomed suitcase filled with four kilogrammes (8.8 pounds) of drugs — including cocaine, ecstasy and amphetamines — at the airport on the holiday island next to Bali.
It was not clear whether prosecutors would seek Dorfin’s execution if he was convicted, but Indonesia has some of the world’s strictest drug laws — including death penalty sentences for some traffickers.
Indonesia has executed several foreign drug smugglers in the past including Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, who were ringleaders of the notorious Bali Nine heroin smuggling gang and faced the firing squad in 2015.
Serge Atlaoui, a convicted French drug smuggler, has been on death row since 2007.
Jailbreaks are also common in Indonesia, where inmates are often held in unsanitary conditions at overcrowded and poorly guarded prisons.
In 2017, four foreign inmates tunnelled their way out of a Bali prison.
Three of the fugitives were captured a few days later, while the fourth — an Australian — is still on the run.