American man escapes from prison on Indonesia's Bali

A motorcyclist passes by Kerobokan prison where American citizen Christian Beasley was detained for hashish drug offense, in Bali, Indonesia, Monday, Dec. 11, 2017. Indonesian police are hunting for Beasley who escaped Monday from the overcrowded and understaffed Kerobokan prison. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)

BALI, Indonesia — Indonesian police are hunting for an American citizen who escaped Monday from an overcrowded and understaffed prison on the Indonesian resort island of Bali.

Head of Kerobokan prison Tonny Nainggolan said Chrishan Beasley, 32, is believed to have escaped at around 4 a.m. by sawing through a ceiling and then climbing over a 6-meter (20-foot) -high wall behind the prison.

Beasley was arrested in August at a post office in the Kuta tourist area of Bali with a package containing 5.7 grams of hashish.

Nainggolan said another American inmate, Paul Anthony Hoffman, 57, who has been serving a 20-month prison sentence since July for robbery, was captured while trying to escape.

An investigation was underway to determine if prison guards were involved in the escape, said Surung Pasaribu of the local office of the Law and Human Rights Ministry. He also said there is a shortage of guards for the prison, which was built to accommodate about 300 people but has nearly 1,600 inmates.

It was the second escape from the prison in Bali's capital, Denpasar, since June, when four foreign inmates escaped through a drainage tunnel.

Two of them, Bulgarian Dimitar Nikolov Iliev and Indian Sayed Mohammed Said, were recaptured in East Timor days later and were returned to Bali. The two others, Shaun Edward Davidson of Australia and Tee Koko King bin Tee Kim Sai of Malaysia, are still at large.

Jailbreaks are common in Indonesia, where prisons are overcrowded with people convicted of drug crimes as part of the government's anti-drug crusade.

In May, more than 440 prisoners escaped from an overcrowded prison on Sumatra island when they were let out of their cells to perform Friday Muslim prayers. In July 2013, about 240 prisoners, including several convicted terrorists, escaped during a deadly riot at a prison in another part of Sumatra.

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This story has been corrected to show that the first name of the escaped American is Chrishan instead of Christian, and the family name of the second American is Hoffman instead of Hoffam.

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