Thai prisoner electrocuted during botched jailbreak

BANGKOK (AFP) - A Thai prisoner died early Tuesday (Dec 25) after being electrocuted by high-voltage barbed wire as he attempted to escape, police said.

Wiwat Aksorsom, 32, broke free from his cell just after midnight along with two other prisoners and tried to scale the 6m walls of his prison in southern Surat Thani province.

But he accidentally touched the electrified barbed wire cresting the prison walls killing him instantly, Colonel Wanchai Palawan, superintendent of Chaiya district police, told AFP.

"Prison officials found his body on the wall after he was electrocuted," he said.

Wiwat had been arrested in possession of 38 methamphetamine tablets, and was remanded in custody while pending police investigation.

The two other prisoners - also jailed for drug offences - made it through without making contact with the fatal wiring.

But one was promptly re-arrested after breaking his arm as he landed on the other side of the wall, while the other was found hours later in a police search around the perimetre.

"They said they are homesick," Wanchai added.

Thai prisons are all equipped with high-voltage electrical fencing to serve as a deterrent to escaping prisoners.

Most facilities are also massively overcrowded in a country which has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world due to harsh penalties for drug offences.

Those push small-time drug dealers and users, including women, behind bars for long periods.

The authorities are mulling ways to ease overcrowding including the widespread use of electronic ankle tags.

Thailand was criticised in June for putting a 26-year-old convicted murderer to death by lethal injection - its first execution since 2009.