An Australian prisoner at large after tunnelling out of a Bali prison was "popular with the ladies" who visited him often behind bars, a former inmate claims.
Escapee Shaun Davidson was well regarded by inmates and seen as one of the toughest blokes behind bars at the Kerobokan prison.
A former inmate spoke to news.com.au anonymously and at length about the charismatic Perth man who, along with three other international prisoners, tunnelled 15 metres through the ground and fled the notorious, overcrowded Indonesian lockup.
As well as providing an insightful behind-the-bars view of the popular hard man, the former convict also gave some theories about how he and his fellow fugitives – two of which have since been caught – made their break.
"He was one of the toughest guys in the jail. He was treated with a lot of respect," said the man who served time with Davidson.
"He's funny, he's upfront and he calls it as he sees it and he's got a lot of respect for others."
The 36-year-old also had no shortage of female callers and was able to call on a large network outside the prison walls to bring him goods, the former con claimed.
"A lot of people came to see him, a lot of Indonesian girls. He was pretty popular with the ladies," the anonymous former inmate claimed.
Prison authorities believe Davidson was the mastermind of the escape that took advantage of a guard shortage and could have included some inside help.
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The former inmate told newspaper suggested Davidson and Malaysian fugitive Tee Kok King, who is still at large, were the ones who "had the balls" to orchestrate and pull off the escape.
"They knew how to talk with the guards, they were colourful characters, funny but tough, especially Shaun," said the ex-convict said.
Davidson and King were both serving time for drug offences and have been taunting police online, with the Australian posting apparent Facebook check-ins from Amsterdam.
Given that Davidson is still on the run and likely in another country, there are theories the plot was aided by an international drug smuggling syndicate.
But the former con told the News Corp Davidson lacked that kind of connection, suggesting he probably had help from someone on the outside in Bali or through one of his fellow escapees' networks.