n American alleged drug dealer and his girlfriend who are facing execution in Thailand have dramatically escaped from court in a blistering gunfight.
Bart Allen Helmus, 39, is accused of stabbing one of the guards before his accomplice Noi Ton Nintet, 41, allegedly shot the same man in Pattaya on Monday afternoon.
Helmus, along with his Thai girlfriend Sirinapha Wisetrit, 31, and the third accomplice Noi, were seen dashing out of the cell door with their chains still clamped to their legs.
CCTV shows one prisoner brandishing a 9mm pistol at officers, while another wrestles a guard to the floor. The officer appears to be writhing around in agony following the altercation.
Footage from the parking lot showed the trio bounding off, one still holding the pistol, where they got into a waiting bronze Isuzu pickup truck.
Courts of Justice spokesman Suriyan Hongwilai told the Bangkok Post that Noi shot police officer Captain Thanameth Potiphan and Helmus stabbed him.
Captain Thanameth was rushed to hospital in a critical condition.
The trio were facing charges that carried a maximum of the death sentence, Suriyan told the Bangkok paper.
Police described the fugitives as ‘extremely dangerous’ and set up checkpoints and roadblocks in the the area.
Lieutenant General Nanthachart Supamongkhol said the U.S. Embassy had been contacted and all border points were on alert.
He added: ‘The three prisoners who escaped were all in chains at the time. We are investigating how they had weapons with them.
‘Officers are checking CCTV to trace the escape route and find the fugitives.’
Police said the group were being transferred from a nearby prison to appear in court when they were being held in an area surrounded by metal bars behind the court building.
Witnesses said there was one gun shot from outside the building which sparked panic from guards, who ran towards a vehicle.
But while they were chasing the car, a scuffle erupted with the prisoners and three more shots were fire before the group fled into the vehicle.
The injured officer was found with a silver knife in the left side of his body after being stabbed.
Police now believe that the fugitives are hiding out in the Chonburi province to wait before fleeing through one of the country’s notoriously porous borders.
Lieutenant General Nanthachart added: ‘The fugitives are extremely dangerous and should not be approached by members of the public.
‘We cannot determine how the prisoners received a 9mm pistol but if we find any accomplices they will be punished severely.’
Source: DailyMail UK