An Inmate in Indonesia Escaped by Breaking Through Prison Walls Using a Spoon

This was the inmate’s third successful escape.
Spoon and hole illustration
Photo collage by VICE. [L] Spoon illustration by Jason L Gohike/Wikimedia Commons/CC License 3.0; [R] Hole illustration by public domain/CC License 2.0

This article originally appeared on VICE Indonesia.

Escaping from prison is a big deal to most people, but not to Matrawi, an inmate at the Sumenep IIB Prison, Madura, East Java in Indonesia.

The 37-year-old reportedly escaped from his isolation cell, where his hands and feet were cuffed, using a spoon on Sunday, Sept. 29. Shawshank’s Andy Dufresne would be proud. Even more impressive is that this was his third time to escape from prison.


“He perforated the wall using a tablespoon,” Head of Prison, Beni Hidayat said to local media. “Matrawi escaped after breaking one handcuff off his wrist. He also managed to get out of his foot cuffs without damaging them,” Hidayat added in astonishment in another interview.

Based on evidence from the crime scene, which are one broken handcuff, one intact foot cuff, as well as one tablespoon, the event has been reconstructed as follows:

At 4 a.m., when seven officers were doing their morning prayer, Matrawi got out of his hand and foot cuffs. Officers still can’t explain how this happened. Then, Matrawi is believed to have used a tablespoon to dig through his cell wall, allowing him to enter the next isolation chamber. Here, he met inmate Abdul Baidi, 32, whom he escaped with.

Knowing that Matrawi had convinced other prisoners to escape with him before, the police assumed Baidi joined Matrawi on his mission after being persuaded to do so. Baidi supposedly helped Matrawi dig through another wall using the same method. After getting out, they climbed up the prison gate and ran away.

How in the world can a person dig through walls using a tablespoon in a few hours? Is the prison made out of playdough or something? Unfortunately, authorities didn’t offer much explanation to the media as to how such an act is possible.

Matrawi was to serve 30 months for domestic violence while Baidi had six years for drugs. Hidayat added that based on their CCTV investigation, no officers assisted the run.


“Based on the evidence we’ve found, there’s nothing that leads to our officers. But we don’t stop there, we will ask for help from the police,” Beni said to local media. At the moment, prison officers, the police, and the national military are looking for Matrawi and Baidi.

Matrawi’s first attempt to escape prison was in 2008. It was unclear how he escaped and how he got caught again.

One thing we do know is that he escaped for a second time in February. He did this during dawn prayers and persuaded two other inmates, Hasan Basri and Riyanto, to come with him.

It took the police four months to find Matrawi and send him back to prison. The police eventually found him hiding in his friend’s house. Authorities had to open fire while chasing him down because he was carrying sharp weapon. Hasan and Riyanto weren’t as “skilled” as Matrawi. Hasan was sent back to prison two days after their escape, while Riyanto surrendered himself to police after meeting his wife who was nine months pregnant.

This is not the first time an Indonesian inmate tried to escape from prison using only a spoon. In June, five inmates in Selatpanjang II Prison in Meranti Islands, Riau took turns punching holes on the bathroom wall with a sharpened spoon. However, luck wasn’t on their side, and the wardens found out about their mission. Their excuse? They were sick of being in prison.