DILI, East Timor – Authorities in East Timor arrested two foreign inmates who escaped from a prison in neighboring Indonesia's resort island of Bali and plan to return them, police said.
Bulgarian Dimitar Nikolov Iliev, 43, and Indian Sayed Mohammed Said, 31, were among four foreign inmates who escaped Monday from the Kerobokan penitentiary in Bali provincial capital, Denpasar, through a 50-by-70-centimeter (20-by-28-inch) hole found under the walls that connects to a 15-meter-long (49-foot-long) water tunnel heading toward a main street.
The two men were recaptured by East Timor maritime police on Thursday near a port in the capital city of Dili, said East Timor police chief Julio da Costa Hornay.
Hornay said that Iliev, who is serving a seven-year sentence for money laundering and another offense, and Said, who is serving 14 years for drug offenses, told authorities they had reached Dili on Wednesday by boat from Indonesia's Alor Island and stayed at a hotel before police arrested them. Police found $7,000 in cash in their hotel room.
They will be sent back pending approval from East Timor's Attorney General's Office, he said.
Indonesian police are searching for two other foreign inmates. Police identified them as Australian Shaun Edward Davidson, 33, who is serving a one-year sentence for an immigration violation, and Malaysian Tee Koko King bin Tee Kim Sai, 50, who is serving seven years for drug offenses.
Police have distributed pictures of the escaped inmates to police station across the country and had provided information and official letters to neighboring countries.
Jailbreaks are common in Indonesia, where overcrowding has become a problem in prisons that are struggling to cope with poor funding and an influx of people arrested in a war on drugs. Most prisoners have been convicted on drug charges.
Associated Press writer Niniek Karmini in Jakarta, Indonesia, contributed to this report.