Pubdate: December 8, 1999
Source: Irish Times (Ireland)
Copyright: 1999 The Irish Times
Contact:  11-15 D'Olier St, Dublin 2, Ireland
Fax: + 353 1 671 9407


BRAZIL: More than 100 inmates escaped from a crowded jail in Sao Paulo
after six armed men stormed the prison early on Monday to spring two
alleged drug traffickers before the Christmas holidays, Brazilian police
said yesterday.

"We are in a high-risk time of the year, not only because of the holidays
but also because it is getting very hot," said Sao Paulo's 7th District
police chief, Col Marco Antonio.

"These two had been in since August and as we moved closer to the end of
the year they probably increased the pressure on those who could rescue
them," Col Antonio said.

Only two of the 105 prisoners did not run when the bandits overpowered the
guards and unlocked the cells, built to house 50 inmates awaiting trial.

The escapees stole cars and even a bus to flee the area of the jail in the
eastern zone of Sao Paulo city, South America's largest urban sprawl.

By nightfall, some 30 had been recaptured.

Rioting, hostage-taking and escape attempts are common at Brazilian
prisons, especially during holidays, such as Christmas, New Year's Day,
Carnival and Mother's Day, when inmates long to be with their families.

During the new year's holiday in 1997, rioting inmates took an estimated
650 hostages in a prison near Sao Paulo, leading to a three-day stand-off
with police.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jo-D