Oct. 17 (UPI) -- A South Korean national imprisoned in the Philippines in connection to three counts of first-degree murder escaped while being returned to his prison cell.
Park Wang-yeol, 41, a suspected accomplice in the murder of three South Koreans in Bacolor, Pampanga, Philippines, in a sugarcane field on Oct. 11, 2016, had stayed at Pampanga Provincial Jail since his arrest, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported Thursday.
Park made his prison break on Wednesday, after attending a scheduled arraignment in Tarlac City, SunStar Philippines reported. The hearing was canceled because of a prosecutor's absence, according to the report.
Five Philippine prison guards accompanied Park on the return trip to Pampanga. None of the guards accompanied the defendant to the restroom at a dining establishment, where Park made his escape.
The defendant reportedly bolted through the ventilation window of the restroom, according to police. As of Thursday, the suspect is still at large.
Park worked with a second South Korean suspect, surnamed Kim, to steal money from their victims who died in 2016. Kim has been charged in Korea with directly delivering fatal gunshots to the victims.
According to Yonhap on Thursday, the victims were themselves accused of a pyramid scheme in Korea, where they may have embezzled as much as $12.7 million. The three suspects had escaped to the Philippines where they met Park and Kim.
The two parties reportedly agreed to co-invest in a casino in the Philippines but soon quarreled over money. The triple murders took place ahead of Park's decision to take about $2,000 in cash from the victims. An additional $600,000 of invested money was taken from the victims, according to the South Korean press report.
Park has previously escaped from Philippine detention, in March 2016. He was captured three months later.
The governor of Pampanga has offered more than $15,000 in reward money for information leading to the capture of Park, the Philippines' Inquirer reported Thursday.