Bali police employ scuba gear in hunt for Australian jail escapee

Shaun Davidson waits to be transferred to Kerobokan jail in Bali after being charged with possessing another person's ...
AMILIA ROSA/FAIRFAX MEDIA

Shaun Davidson waits to be transferred to Kerobokan jail in Bali after being charged with possessing another person's identity and overstaying his visa in April last year.

Bali police have been forced to hold off an investigation to ensure four prison escapees, including Australian Shaun Davidson, are not still trapped inside the escape tunnel after rain made conditions unstable.

The four prisoners have not been sighted since it emerged they had escaped during prison roll call at Kerobokan jail at 8am on Monday.

Badung police chief Yudith Satriya Hananta said police tried to investigate the tunnel using scuba gear on Tuesday but rain made it unstable.

The tunnel through which the Kerobokan inmates escaped.
SUPPLIED

The tunnel through which the Kerobokan inmates escaped.

"We will try again when the water dries out," Yudith said.

READ MORE: Australian, three others break out of notorious Bali prison

 
Shaun Davidson had just 10 weeks left to serve in Bali, but also faces drugs charges in Australia.
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Shaun Davidson had just 10 weeks left to serve in Bali, but also faces drugs charges in Australia.

He said police could not confirm whether the prisoners had left Bali and there was a suspicion they might be still stuck inside the tunnel.

"That's why we are drying it out to check. It's still full with water, we will see when it's dry."

Police found a small fork inside the narrow tunnel, which was about 13 metres long and led from a hole assumed to be a septic tank near the jail clinic to outside the prison walls.

Shaun Davidson, right, goes into a holding cell after being sentenced to a year's jail minus time served in September ...
AMILIA ROSA/FAIRFAX MEDIA

Shaun Davidson, right, goes into a holding cell after being sentenced to a year's jail minus time served in September last year.

A head lamp flashlight, sandals and clothes were also found inside the tunnel, including a black shirt recognised as belonging to one of the escapees, Malaysian Tee Kok King, according to a prison official.

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Wanted posters urging anyone who sees the prisoners to contact Badung police have been erected throughout Bali. 

Yudith said Badung police had coordinated with police throughout Bali and officers at the airport and ports. 

Photos of the missing prisoners, with Australian Shaun Davidson on the far right.
AMILIA ROSA/FAIRFAX MEDIA

Photos of the missing prisoners, with Australian Shaun Davidson on the far right.

"There is the possibility they left Denpasar ... we don't know yet."

Yudith said police had completed questioning the 10 guards who were on duty when the prisoners disappeared and other prisoners in the block. 

Police had also taken a back up of the CCTV footage on the day of the breakout.

Kerobokan jail in Bali, where the escape took place.
AMILIA ROSE/FAIRFAX MEDIA

Kerobokan jail in Bali, where the escape took place.

However the footage did not cover the location of the tunnel. Police were still investigating whether the tunnel was new or had previously existed.

Davidson had just 10 weeks left to serve after being sentenced to a year's jail in Bali for using another man's passport.

But he also faces drug charges back in Australia. 

He had been due to face Perth Magistrates Court on January 28, 2015, charged with possessing methamphetamine and cannabis and two other offences, but skipped the country.

Davidson spent a year partying and boxing in Bali before falling foul of immigration authorities for using another man's passport that had been reported missing by its real owner in 2013.

Prison sources told Fairfax Media Davidson had told prisoners he intended to do something prior to his release to prolong his stay at Hotel K, as the prison is colloquially known.

"Davidson had made no secret of his intention to avoid being sent back to Australia," a Kerobokan source told Fairfax Media.

A frequent topic behind bars had been how he could be deported to a third country at the end of his sentence that did not have an extradition treaty with Australia.

"He actually likes prison. I can well imagine he escaped with the aim of being caught and extending his sentence in Kerobokan, which is far more comfortable and drugs more easily available than in an Aussie prison," the source said.

A former prisoner said Davidson wanted to stay longer in "Hotel K".

"He was asking me what I thought he could do to stay longer to avoid going back to Australia, as a joke I said "try escaping", I guess he took it literally," the ex-prisoner said on Facebook.

 - Sydney Morning Herald

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