PRISONERS gamble on horse races, played mahjong and cards while guards looked on, and anyone who complains is put in with the violent offenders, a newly-release jail inmate has told the Sunday Morning Post. The ex-convict, released this month after five years in Lantau Island's Shek Pik Prison, said accumulated grievances may have sparked the incident in which the guardhouse at Siu Lam Psychiatric Centre was demolished by a truck last week. 'The inmates have no channel to exhale their woes. Some of the reckless ones might resort to violence for revenge,' said Gary, 48, who requested his full name be withheld. 'If a court finds us guilty, we are given a reasonable punishment. But in prison, we found we had to face a second trial - much tougher and harder than the first because there was no jury and no press report,' he said. The ex-convict, who served five years after being convicted of trafficking in dangerous drugs in 1990, said he had witnessed unfair treatment and tried to complain through the proper channels, but was foiled. It was a common practice to put any complainants in cells with known 'fierce fighters', he said. 'The guards folded their arms and watched us fight almost to the death. It's not as simple as putting up your hand to complain if you saw something unfair,' he said. One prisoner had died during this year's Lunar New Year cold snap, when the Correctional Services Department initially failed to supply extra blankets, he said. CSD would not comment on the allegations. Other prisoners gambled openly, under the eyes of CSD guards. 'More than half of the 13 canteen tables were used to play cards, paper mahjong and pai gou during Lunar New Year,' he said. 'They placed wagers with cigarettes and the losers' families would pay them back through ATM machines outside. 'There's no point in saying these jails are a place for correction. After all these years, I felt my respect and support came from the gangs instead of the officers.' Legislator Emily Lau Wai-hing said she received complaints from prisoners every day. 'The recent prison attacks were very alarming and violent. The Government should pay attention to the reasons behind the attack before further violence takes place,' she said.