Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pudu Jail

The Pudu Prison was built in 1895 as a prison in Malaysia near the centre of Kuala Lumpur. It was used to house criminals including drug offenders and was a location for administering corporal punishment by rotan caning. The canings were administered in a special "caning area", so marked, not inside the building but in the grounds- wikipedia

After the fall of Singapore, during World war II, the Japanese occupation forces incarcerated many English, Australian and New Zealand prisoners there.
1986 saw the execution of Kevin Barlow and Brian Chambers, both Australian nationals, at Pudu for the drug trafficking of heroin. More recently, the prison was closed for several years. It was reopened in 1997/98 as a museum and again for a short time in early 2004.
The cells were small and dark, each equipped with a window only the size of a shoebox. The prison also features murals painted on the walls circling the compound, depicting scenes of nature. These murals were painted by the prisoners, who used over 2,000 litres of paint to accomplish the task.

Eight supporters of the Hindu Rights Action Force were arrested and incarcerated in Pudu Prison following the 2007 HINDRAF rally. They were later released due to lack of evidence.
There are rumours that Pudu Prison is haunted. There have been reports of a strange Indian man walking the halls of the prison and disappearing around the corner. Supposedly, screams have been heard from rooms where hangings have taken place, and there are certain areas of the prison that are far colder than others.

Russell Lee, the author of the book series True Singapore Ghost Stories, although the jail was in Malaysia, included a story of a prisoner in Pudu Prison in one of his books. The prisoner reported hearing screaming from the rotan caning area, and he also heard the story that one prisoner committed suicide in order to avoid being caned. Supposedly his ghost stops the last stroke of the cane being given, and the prisoner personally reported this experience happening to him.- Wikipedia.


In the Malaysian prison system, punishment rarely fits the crime

by Robert Symes with Bob Hart

On December 21, 1976, Robert Symes was travelling by train from Bangkok in Thailand to Butterworth in Malaysia. He didn't make it. In Padang Besar on the Malaysian border, he was arrested during a routine Customs check for possession of 1666 grams of Thai Buddha sticks. Fine grass, according to Symes. The Malaysian authorities exhibited no sense of humor about the incident. One year later, Symes was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment and a flogging for drug trafficking. The judge decided against hanging Symes, but admitted that he was sorely tempted.
In fact, this young Australian was a fool, not a criminal. He had no intention of parting with any of his stash in Malaysia. He was happily on his way home to his idyllic Bali beach house which he shared with an Indonesian girlfriend and anybody else who happened along. He had flown to Thailand in search of some cheap shit, and he found it. The offence for which Symes was convicted -- drug trafficking -- was the same one that resulted in two other young men, Kevin Barlow and Geoffrey Chambers, being hanged some eight years later. Symes survived ....

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This is the compound where the caning sentences for prisoners are carried out.
Caning is done on an appointed day for all prisoners who have been given the sentence.
Every prisoner is given all the strokes in one session.
The caning usually starts at 8 a.m. in the morning.
Prisoners are brought to the cells and locked up together to await their turn.
They are brought out one at a time for the punishment.
The prisoner is first examined by a qualified medical doctor
to determine his fitness for the punishment.
After being certified fit, the prisoner will be ordered the sentence by the Prison Superintendent.
He is then secured to the wooden harness.
After he has been properly harness [sic],
a well-trained officer or warden will carry out the caning.
As the strokes are being given,
a senior prison officer (ASP or DSP rank) will count the number of strokes as the doctor watches the proceedings.
If the caning officer misses a stroke, it is counted as delivered.
Should the prisoner faint at any stage of the caning,
the doctor may stop the caning to examine the prisoner.
If the prisoner is certified fit to continue,
the remaining strokes will be administered.
Should the doctor proclaim the prisoner to be unfit to carry on,
the remaining strokes will be waived.
At the end of the caning,
the prisoner is released from the harness and checked by the doctor who will also instruct the assistants to apply the necessary medical treatment on the prisoner's buttocks.
If the wound is serious, the doctor will order the prisoner to be admitted to hospital.
For adults, the rattan will not be more than one half of an inch in diameter.
In the case of juveniles, a light rattan will be used.
From Local Newspapers



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