Paratroopers have joined the ongoing hunt for escaped prisoner Chaovalit Thongduang in the mountains of the southern province of Phattalung. Chaovalit has been on the run since October 22, when he fled the Nakhon Si Thammarat hospital where he’d been receiving dental treatment.
Thai PBS World reports that police paratroopers from a base in the central province of Phetchaburi have been deployed to assist in the manhunt. The officers are required to rappel in from helicopters as the terrain is covered in large trees, making it impossible to land there.
According to the report, four helicopters are combing the area for the missing prisoner, while also dropping supplies to officers involved in the search. It’s understood there are around 60 officials from the Corrections Department in Surat Thani taking part in the search.
The reported presence of the fugitive in Tamot district aroused fear among some villagers, who temporarily paused their rubber tapping. However, the number of officers now on the ground has provided some reassurance and villagers have been able to return to work.
So far, officers searching the mountain range have located a makeshift shelter used by the fugitive and people thought to be assisting him. They also found an M16 assault rifle and a shotgun. However, to date, there has been no sighting of Chaovalit himself.
SOURCE: Thai PBS World