Family turns in convict after nine months on the run

The family of escaped prisoner, Suitupe Faamoe Paufai, handed him over to the Samoa Prisons and Correction Services (S.P.C.S.) on Thursday.

This was confirmed by the Minister of Revenue who is also responsible for Prisons, Tialavea Tionisio Hunt. 

“It was a van from the Prisons service that went to his family and collected him from there,” said the Minister, in an interview with the Samoa Observer. 

“I’m unaware of which family and the village [they located him] but a report from Prisons is that it was his family that contacted the authority.” 

Paufai has been on the run for nearly nine months, since May 2019 while he was working with a group of inmates to clear the grass for the new Tanumalala prison.

From the villages of Vailuutai, Faleatiu and Fagamalo Savai’i, the 59-year-old convict was serving time for murder and possession of narcotics when he escaped. 

In a brief interview with Police Commissioner, Fuiavailiili Egon Keil, he confirmed that Paufai is in Police custody. 

He could not give details of where the escapee was captured, saying such information will be released soon by police. 

During the biggest drug bust from Police in November last year where more than 10,000 marijuana plants were seized, Paufai was allegedly spotted in one of the plantations. 

According to Fuiavailiili at the time, Paufai was seen by Police but managed to evade authorities along with another suspect. 

To date, another prison escapee, Pati Chong Nee is still at large. 

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