The director of Vanuatu's correctional services says he believes two escaped prisoners were beaten by police to teach them a lesson.
Seven prisoners have been on the run in the Port Vila area, some of them since last year.
Three have been re-captured, and two were hospitalised after being arrested.
Johnny Marango says the Corrections Department has a good working relationship with the police, but no funding for the logistics of the recapture operation.
"They were beaten by the police. I don't have any reason, but just because they have a record of continuous escapes, so maybe this is to teach them a lesson that they should not run away from the prison."
Johnny Marango says some of the remaining four prisoners were believed to have been in a cave in North Efate, but at least one has been seen in the Port Vila area.