A man convicted of serious offences in Australia has mysteriously escaped from two Australian security guards inside the secure international transit area of Bangkok’s main airport.
The botched escort of the 25 year-old German-born man by the security guards contracted by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship has angered Thai authorities who said they were not informed of his arrival in Thailand.
The man who served three years jail in Queensland was being escorted from Australia to Germany on commercial flights that transited through Bangkok.
He disappeared in the early hours of May 16 but Thai authorities did not tell the department in Canberra until eight days later he could not be found in the airport’s secure area.
A spokesman for the department said the man was taken to a transit hotel after his arrival from Australia because a commercial flight to Germany was delayed eight hours.
He was last seen taking a shower.
The department cannot explain how the man was able to by-pass Thai immigration and customs barriers.
He was not carrying travel documents and Thai immigration records show no evidence of the man entering Thailand.
However security footage on May 17 shows a man passing through a security door with airline staff.
The guards who travelled with the man were from Serco, the company that provides security services for the department.
Thai police have been unable to locate the man while Thai airport authorities have launched an investigation into what happened.
Thai Immigration bureau major-general Suwichpol Imjairach said the man arrived on a Thai Airways flight without the knowledge of immigration police.
“Usually the immigration police must be informed if any foreign suspect is brought into the country but I have no idea why this case is different,” he said.
“All the bureau can say now is that the suspect is not in the airport.”
Airport director Rawewan Netrakavesna said the Airport Authority of Thailand (AoT) would question all staff who were at the airport at the time of the escape.
“The AoT was not notified by the police who were escorting the suspect,” she said.
The Bangkok Post newspaper quoted an AoT source was saying the escape had damaged the authority's reputation and prompted increased security measures at the airport.
Serco is preparing a report for the department in Canberra on why the man was left unguarded.
The company could face a fine over the incident.
"The department views any escape very seriously and is grateful for the professionalism and support provided by the Thai authorities,” the spokesman said.
The department has not released the name or description of the man who had been convicted of drugs, theft and other charges in Queensland despite that he may commit offences in Thailand.
Foreign-born criminals are routinely removed from Australia after serving jail sentences.
The man had told immigration officials he would leave Australia without causing problems.
He is wanted on charges in Germany.