How not to escape prison
Doing hard time for a crime you didn’t commit? Well, to aid you in your escape plan, here’s a few examples of what not to do. Avoid these pitfalls and you’ll be on the run in no time.
Don’t touch the electric fence
No one had ever escaped from a North Korean prison camp when Shin In Geun and Park Yong Chul attempted to break out of Camp 14.
Shin had been born in the 154,000-strong prison camp, the largest in the world, because his uncles had escaped North Korea, and as punishment his father and the following three generations of his family were to spend life in a labour camp.
A brutal place to live, starvation and executions were part of Camp 14’s daily routine, with children taught to spy on their parents (Shin himself had dobbed in his mother when she plotted an escape, and was forced to watch her execution).
Park however had only recently arrived at the camp, and struck up a friendship with Shin, explaining key facts about life outside, such as the taste of meat, and how the world was round.
One day the pair were assigned to trim trees near the perimeter of the camp, and decided to make a break for it. Park reached the fence first, and tried to squeeze between the wires. He touched one, and was instantly fried on the high-voltage fence.
The weight of his corpse held down the bottom wire, creating a small opening for Shin to squeeze through. Shin managed to escape not only Camp 14 but North Korea entirely.
To this day, Shin is the only person known to have escaped a North Korean prison camp. So yeah, don’t touch the electric fence… but if someone else does, make the best of it.
Don’t take on the guard tower
In1936 Joseph Bowers made the first recorded escape attempt from the infamous Alcatraz prison in the bay of San Francisco.
On a bright spring day, in full view of the guard tower, Joe ran for the security fence at the island’s perimeter.
The guards noticed and ordered him to freeze. Ignoring them, and the warning shots that followed, Joe frantically climbed the fence.
That was about the extent of his plan: no carefully orchestrated distractions, no cover of darkness, no disguises, just a mad sprint and climb.
Nevertheless, he managed to get all the way over, but was shot when he touched ground on the other side, dying on the rocky shore of Alcatraz island.
Don’t knock yourself out
After allegedly punching his girlfriend in the head repeatedly, the aptly-named Jester Gabriel-Lopez was taken into police custody.
The 20-year-old American decided the best way out was up, climbing the steel bars of his cell to try and break through the ceiling tiles.
Halfway through his cunning plan, Jester lost his balance and fell, smashing his head on the concrete floor and knocking himself out.
The scheme did get him out of the cell however – Jester was immediately rushed to hospital.
Don’t treat the guards like they were born yesterday
Under the pretence of a conjugal visit, 19-year-old Maria del Mar Arjona tried to break her incarcerated boyfriend Juan Ramirez Tijerina out of a Mexican prison by stuffing him into a suitcase and wheeling him out.
The guards quickly noticed the strained, wiggling bulge of Maria’s bag, which was much too heavy for her to manoeuvre properly anyway.
They asked her to open the suitcase up, finding Juan inside, curled up in a slightly undignified fetal position.
Maria is now facing jail time of her own… hopefully any would-be rescuers can come up with a better plan.