Thimphu police re-arrested a 45-year-old man from Khasadrapchu in Thimphu on July 5, more than four years after he escaped from police custody.

The man was arrested from Thimphu on December 2, 2013, for an illegal transaction of controlled substances.

The suspect who is from Paro, escaped on January 27, 2014, when he was taken to the national referral hospital for treatment. He was then under trial.

Thimphu district court issued a judgement in July 2014 where he was convicted for nine years.

A police official said that the judgment states that the suspect’s sentence will start from the day he is re-arrested, which means his sentence will start from July 5.

“We produced him to the court today. In addition to his sentence, he will be charged for escaping from lawful custody,” the official said.

Section 172 of the Penal Code of Bhutan states that the offence of escape from lawful custody shall be a misdemeanour in addition to the remaining sentences of which the defendant is undergoing.

A misdemeanour provides for a maximum term of imprisonment of less than three years and a minimum term of a year for the convicted defendant.

The official said that his conviction then was as per Section 498 and 499 of the Penal Code, not as per the Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Substances Abuse Act of Bhutan (NDPSSA) which came into force on July 20, 2015.

Section 498 states that a defendant shall be guilty of the offence of an illegal transaction of controlled substances, if the defendant unlawfully imports, exports, sells, purchases, hoards and stores or transports any psychotropic substance or narcotic drug.

According to section 499, the offence of an illegal transaction of controlled substances is a felony of the fourth degree.

A defendant convicted of a felony of the second degree will be sentenced to a term of imprisonment, a minimum of being nine years and a maximum of 15 years.

Meanwhile, search is still on for the 28-year-old detainee who escaped from Thimphu dzongkhag court around 10:30am on June 19. The detainee was under trial and was taken to court for a hearing when the incident occurred.

Dechen Tshomo