29 Sep 2009

Sixty PNG prisoners escape while police at rugby league

9:09 am on 29 September 2009

Dozens of prisoners are reported to be on the loose in Papua New Guinea after they escaped from jail while police were controlling an international rugby league match.

Around 60 prisoners broke out of Bomana jail in the Papua New Guinea capital, Port Moresby, on Sunday.

The National newspaper reports they fled while police were at the clash between an Australian Prime Minister's 13 and the Papua New Guinea Prime Minister's 13.

The inmates reportedly cut the jail's fence to get out.

The police say their officers were providing security at the rugby league ground and could do little.

But source at the correctional services department say the escape happened because some wardens failed to turn up for their shifts because of a pay dispute.

There are also reports in the Post Courier newspaper that police beat, punched, slapped and even kicked rugby league fans at the match, and fired gunshots to disperse people throwing missiles into the grounds.