Thailand prisoner escape
In this undated image made from a digital screen released by Thailand's Department of Corrections, shows a police custody photo of American citizen Bart Allen Helmus, 40 years old, after being arrested on drug charges. Helmus was among three prisoners who staged a violent escape from a courthouse in Thailand has shot and injured himself and his wife as police surrounded them Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019. Image Credit: AP

Bangkok: An American drug suspect and his Thai wife who went on the run after they shot and stabbed their way out of a courtroom were apprehended on Wednesday, authorities said, with the man shooting his wife and then himself as police closed in.

The couple, along with an associate, had made their brazen and violent escape from a court holding room in the seedy southern city of Pattaya on Monday, wounding a police officer before fleeing in a pick-up truck.

But on Wednesday they were tracked down in Sa Kaeo province, which shares a border with Cambodia, with the American taking his wife hostage in the ensuing standoff with police.

"The foreign suspect shot his wife, and then himself," Sattawat Hiranburana, assistant to the national police chief, told AFP, adding that the American had sustained "serious" injuries.

The wife was also wounded though in a less critical condition, Sattawat said.

The couple are facing death penalty charges for drug trafficking, although sentences are rarely carried out.

The third suspect was apprehended separately, police said, while two others suspected of helping the trio make their daring getaway were also detained.

According to local TV, the authorities had acted on a tip-off from a villager in Sa Kaeo, who saw the couple acting suspiciously.

Thailand is both a producer and major transit hub for drugs.

Much regional drug manufacturing takes place in the Golden Triangle, a remote border region where Myanmar, Laos and Thailand all meet.