Double murderer Kajinek found after 40 days on the run

Forty days after his escape from the top-security Mirov prison, the most sought-for man in the Czech Republic, Jiri Kajinek, was hunted down by a special police unit in a Prague flat on Friday evening. Kajinek was serving a life sentence for murdering two people, and this was not for the first time he had escaped from prison. Alena Skodova has the details:

Although the Mirov prison in Moravia is one of the most strictly guarded prisons in the Czech Republic, housed in a hilltop fortress, on October 29th Kajinek managed to escape--the first prisoner ever to do so in Mirov's history.

Exactly 40 days later, he was recaptured by a rapid deployment police unit. Residents of the densely populated Velka Ohrada housing estate on the edge of Prague witnessed a dramatic scene on Friday evening as police burst into a fifth-floor flat, while two of their colleagues waited on the roof and two more dangled from ropes outside the building. They threw five or six acoustic detonators into the flat and broke in via the balcony.

Kajinek, who had let his beard grow to change his appearance, was lying naked in bed and sleeping. The convicted double-murderer had two pistols next to him and police also found a grenade in his bed. But during the operation not a single shot was fired, and everything went so fast that Kajinek did not manage even to stretch his hand out to reach for his gun.

During the assault Kajinek was wounded in the head, and the wound was stitched on the spot by a doctor. According to a police statement, Kajinek did not try to conceal his identity. The whole operation lasted less than a minute. With a sheet over his head Kajinek was then bundled into the police car and escorted to one of Prague's prisons.

"None of us had the slightest idea that Kajinek was staying so close by," one inhabitant in the Velka Ohrada housing estate told reporters. According to unofficial information, the flat belongs to the wife of one of Kajinek's fellow prisoners.

Police President Jiri Kolar told the press that police had known about Kajinek's hideout in Prague for more than two weeks and for the whole time had been preparing their tactics for the assault. The hideout had been found after hundreds of people, linked with Kajinek in one way or another, had been interrogated. After Kajinek's escape at the end of October, the police combed the area near the prison for several days, but after the possibility of Kajinek hiding near Mirov was ruled out, all clues led to Prague.

At the weekend, Jiri Kajinek was taken to the prison of Valdice in Eastern Bohemia. The general director of the Prison Service, Kamila Meclova, told journalists that she was not considering sending Kajinek elsewhere. The Czech Republic's most infamous criminal will be kept in a specially adapted cell, and prison officials insist that he has no chance of escaping again.