Paying My Last Respects To Pudu Jail (Part 2)

Posted by shloke 30 June 2010
Hi all! This is my second article in a three-part series. Click HERE to return to my first article. The story doesn't end there. There are few more interesting things I would like to share with all of you. It continues as follows. At first, I attempts to determine the size of the place by walking along the outer perimeter. Well, Pudu Jail a.k.a Pudu Prison is not so big after all. The main entrance to the prison is marked by two large wooden arched gates. But the gates were locked and shut permanently. Sigh...what a letdown!

Earlier, I saw a secret side entrance. So I walked all the way to the back of the prison...AGAIN! A red colored No Entry signboard was erected in front of the entrance.

I want to explore the prison so bad! So I took out my camera and was pretending to be a reporter. A site supervisor noticed my presence. He looked at me, smiled and asked, "Are you a reporter?" I nodded my head confidently. He asked me to contact high-ranking officials at the side entrance to request permission to enter. If they turned me down flat, I can refer to him again for backdoor entrance into Pudu Jail. OH YEAH!

I took a deep breath and tried to refocus my thoughts before I braved myself for a friendly chat with this group of 'pegawai besar' (translation: high-ranking officials). I'd rather dropped the pretend tough act and just be myself. I definitely had the most heart stopping and nerve-wrecking experiences in my life. Luckily, a group of journalists and reporter joined our conversation. PHEW, what a relief! Saved by the bell :)

At one point, we're getting nowhere. The Chinese reporter from TV3 was digging for old stories. I'm getting so impatient!!! 'Tak boleh tahanlah! (OK, I cannot stand it anymore!). I interjected into the conversation with multiple "yeah"s and "uh huh"s. LOL! I don't know how to not make that sound so rude. I wanna go inside...NOW! I asked them:

Malay: "Encik, saya nak masuk penjara untuk tangkap gambar"
(Translation: Sir, I need to enter the prison to get some shots")

The man stands dumbfounded as well as sour for a moment. I kept looking back at them and asked the same question. He finally relented and let us in. Halfway, another guy stopped me and asked:

Malay: "You tak takut ke? Hantu? Jembelang?"
(Translation:"Aren't you afraid of ghosts and all these dead prisoners? ")

I shook my head in disbelief that these people still believe in ghosts and spirits. I'm not at all surprised to hear all kinds of crazy things like that. It appears the spooky stories have been circulating for quite a while in the net and local dailies. According to former prison warders and guards, Pudu Jail was regarded as one of the 'dirtiest' place in Malaysia. Recently, TheStar paper published two full articles about close encounter with spirits, ghosts and headless woman. Here are some interesting news snippets.

Close encounter with spirits and a headless woman

“Once, a police officer was interviewing prisoners and it was getting late. However, he said that he could interview one more, and I went down to bring another one.

“As he was filling in some forms he saw a figure sitting down. Thinking it was another prisoner he looked up, only to see a headless woman with blood flowing down her chest. The officer ran down the stairs as fast as he could,” he says.

Aziz believes Pudu Prison is a very “dirty” place and in some places is a giant graveyard. Source: TheStar (27th June 2010)

Executioner tells of eerie goings on

He has his own scary tale to tell, involving Mohd Affandi Abdul Rahman, who along with his bomoh wife Mona Fandey, had been sentenced to death for the murder of Batu Talam state assemblyman Datuk Mazlan Idris.

Affandi, he says, had asked him to bring him a rose bud.

“When I eventually did, Affandi put it on his palm and recited a few words. And the rosebud flew round and round,” he claimed.

“I know it’s unbelievable but I saw it.” Source: TheStar (27th June 2010)

I guess if you wanna hear more ghost stories, go talk to the old security. That said, I've had my share of scary moments. When I explore the first and second floor, I heard metal doors clanking and shutting all by itself. In many areas of the old blocks, I hear a few dragging footsteps lingering. I was truly startled, because I was wearing soft sole shoes!

I can only stood innocently in the prison trying not to look suspicious. Luckily, the excitement and euphoria overcome my unfounded fears. I told myself this was normal and there's no such thing as ghosts and wandering spirits. It's all in my head...imagination run amok. Anyway, there's something mystical about the unknown, something fun about imagining encounters with the supernatural :)

Exploring the entire prison complex is no simple task. There is no clear signage to indicate your current position. At times, I felt extremely lost, alone and out of my depth. This place is like a maze...a confusing and frustrating one.

By 1:30 p.m. I was tired, thirsty and mentally exhausted. I wanted to call it a day and walked back to the side entrance. But I was shocked to see the gates were locked and chained from the outside. OMG! How do I break free from this prison? Is this a JOKE??? If that's the case, that's not funny, it's DUMB! I got a little panicky when I realized I had been trapped in the prison...ALONE!

I looked at the time again. It's 1:35 p.m. Um...perhaps it's lunch time. LOL! Oh well, I regained my composure and explored the remaining areas (including cafeteria, the defunct Hang Tuah police station and mosque).

Finally, the gates were reopened by 2 p.m. sharp. A Bangladeshi foreman signaled to me and asked me to leave. LOL! I chatted with some workers before walking back to reality. What an experience! I guess you had to be there to understand my mixed bag of feelings. Stay tuned for Part 3 (The conclusion)

In the cell

Location: First floor - Unknown block, Pudu Jail, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Date: 21st June 2010 (Monday), 12:00 p.m.
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/3.5, ISO Equiv.: 1600

I purposely closed the wooden door to experience life behind bar....momentarily. It's spacious (for one person) but I felt a tremendous and overpowering feeling of restlessness. Being there, it's claustrophobic.

People often say that the inmates live better than homeless people. That's so untrue! I've done a fair bit of research on the subject and discovered that inmates were packed like sardines. During the 1980s, each cell could fit up to ten people. Imagine that!

Dark, eerie and creepy

Location: First floor - Unknown block, Pudu Jail, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Date: 21st June 2010 (Monday), 12:45 p.m.
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/3.8, ISO Equiv.: 1400

This picture was taken shortly after my close encounters with some strange things. Faint footsteps and sudden clank along Dead Man's Walk. I remember taking this picture so vividly like it was yesterday. I must say, looking back, it's kind of creepy.

The defunct police station in Pudu Jail

Location: Hang Tuah Police Station, Pudu Jail, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Date: 21st June 2010 (Monday), 1:14 p.m.
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/4.5, ISO Equiv.: 200

Recently (before the demolition), a section of the prison building is used as the Jalan Hang Tuah police station and also a temporary drug addict hold up centre.

I climbed up the broken wooden stairs to reach the defunct Hang Tuah Police Station. This building is old, musty and smelly. Did you notice the wooden table? Guess what I've found on the table? The answer is below :)

Time stopped on November 1996

Location: Hang Tuah Police Station, Pudu Jail, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Date: 21st June 2010 (Monday), 1:18 p.m.
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/4.8, ISO Equiv.: 200

This is very interesting! I stumbled upon an outdated calendar (on the wooden table) while searching for angles and photo opportunities.

Abandoned and ransacked

Location: Hang Tuah Police Station, Pudu Jail, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Date: 21st June 2010 (Monday), 1:09 p.m.
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/4.0, ISO Equiv.: 200

Looks like a perfect set for disaster movie. A potent combination of 'earthquake', 'fire' and 'riot'.

Peeling, chipping and falling

Location: Hang Tuah Police Station, Pudu Jail, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Date: 21st June 2010 (Monday), 1:18 p.m.
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/4.5, ISO Equiv.: 200

Imagine walking into this prison past midnight, alone, in the fog and seeing THIS in your flashlight beam. Oooh...SCARY!

Walking through the prison is like walking through history. It never fails to amaze me. I enjoyed every minute of it!

Gigantic lock

Location: Main entrance - behind the walls, Pudu Jail, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Date: 21st June 2010 (Monday), 1:22 p.m.
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/5.6, ISO Equiv.: 200

This gate separates the prison cells from Hang Tuah Police Station.

The gigantic teardrop lock is old but still in good working order. Pull handle up and turn counter-clockwise to unlock. To lock, rotate arm/handle clockwise. Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

Prayers of comfort and hope

Location: Unknown block, Pudu Jail, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Date: 21st June 2010 (Monday), 12:45 p.m.
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/3.5, ISO Equiv.: 1600

The range of art work on display on the prison walls is awesome - religious, classic nudity, sex, violence and desire for freedom. I'll be adding a lot more similar photos in my third post.

Ghost Rider

Location: Unknown cell & block, Pudu Jail, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Date: 21st June 2010 (Monday), 12:09 p.m.
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/5.0, ISO Equiv.: 1600

Can someone translate this for me?

Updates: The Chinese writing on the wall says "A hope should be there when it comes to the worst, can't go/turn back this time." Micki, thanks for the wonderful translation!

First aid kit

Location: Ground floor - Unknown block, Pudu Jail, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Date: 21st June 2010 (Monday), 12:19 p.m.
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/3.5, ISO Equiv.: 1000

An empty first aid kit.

Leftover pills

Location: Ground floor - Unknown block, Pudu Jail, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Date: 21st June 2010 (Monday), 12:21 p.m.
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/5.6, ISO Equiv.: 200

I should have kept these pills - prison memorabilia. 'Collectables' that could be worth a fortune one day :) Christie's LELONG! LELONG! (translation: auction)

Special attention

Location: Ground floor - Unknown block, Pudu Jail, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Date: 21st June 2010 (Monday), 11:10 a.m.
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/5.0, ISO Equiv.: 640

Translation: Special attention: Sick inmates - out of normal treatment hours, please queue up here.

Hanged by the neck until dead!

Location: Behind the walls, Pudu Jail, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Date: 21st June 2010 (Monday), 1:04 p.m.
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/8.0, ISO Equiv.: 1000

This graffiti is a grim reminder of hanging, the traditional way of capital punishment in Malaysia. According to Wikipedia, capital punishment in Malaysia applies to murder, drug trafficking, treason, and waging war against Yang di-Pertuan Agong (the King). Recently, the law has been extended to include acts of terrorism. Any terrorists, and anyone who aids terrorists, financially or otherwise, are liable to face the death penalty.

Between 1970 and 2001, Malaysia executed 359 people. As of 2006, 159 people remain on the death row.

Well, I don't believe in capital punishment, morally or legally. The deed is done, and taking another life cannot change it. Also I HATE to see caning as a form of corporal punishment. The following research will help you understand more about judicial corporal punishment in Malaysia. (CAUTION - CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES!). You should not view it if you are upset by such things. Click HERE for World Corporal Punishment Research, Malaysia.

Last updated 4th July 2010 (6:05 p.m.)

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Pudu Jail - Directions, Getting There & Maps:

The prison is just minutes away from Hang Tuah LRT station and Berjaya Times Square shopping centre.

Walking directions from Hang Tuah Monorial Station to Pudu Jail.

This is a thumbnail screenshot. Click link (Map 1) to download the map.

Map 1 (1 page, JPG file, 147 kb)

Note: File is hosted in MediaFire

Pudu Jail - Google Maps:


Demolition of Pudu Jail - YouTube Videos:



Pudu Jail - Read More & Useful Links:

  1. http://tinyurl.com/33oaftw (5 Most Infamous Pudu Jail Inmates)
  2. http://tinyurl.com/387j9qc (Prison holds fond memories, TheStar)
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pudu_Prison (Wikipedia article about Pudu Jail)
  4. http://tinyurl.com/ydoa4l9 (Pudu Jail Conservation Statement by University of Bath)
  5. http://tinyurl.com/2damagb (Pudu Jail, do you remember? Official Facebook page)
  6. http://tinyurl.com/2522kwl (Press Statement from Heritage of Malaysia Trust)
  7. http://tinyurl.com/29e67b3 (Mega development plan proposed for Pudu Prison land, TheStar)
  8. http://tinyurl.com/28fj8gg (National Heritage Act 2005, Malaysia)
  9. http://tinyurl.com/2g3v5sn (Close encounter with spirits and a headless woman, TheStar)
  10. http://tinyurl.com/2d2w79b (Executioner tells of eerie goings on, TheStar)

10 comments

  1. Jimmy Liew Says:
  2. I will miss the Pudu Jail also. I appreciate your effort on this article and pictures.

    Thanks.

     
  3. lechua Says:
  4. that's brave of u... i think i would definitely be creeped out. and u went right into the cells and all... was definitely worth ur visit!

     
  5. Rafael Lam Says:
  6. Thanks for introduce the Pudu Jail of KL!
    Professional articles, I like your blog layout too!

     
  7. xplorer Says:
  8. mylo - from your pic it seems that pudu jail is in a dilipidated condition. i was there 10 years back when the condition is not that bad and they had open it as a museum .i was there alone xploring the jail as they are not much visitor . yep that place is creepy especially the gallows. i did not bring my camera back then but the images of pudu jail remain imprinted in my mind

     
  9. micki Says:
  10. "Walking through the prison is like walking through history"- I like this statement a lot! Your detail observations and documentation are taking us back to the history too! The Chinese writing on the wall says " A hope should be there when it comes to the worst, can't go/turn back this time."

     
  11. fufu Says:
  12. the peeling, chipping and falling picture makes me so sad!!!!!! also the ghost rider... no return for him!!! oh this post really a nice one! very educative!! should be shared with other teenagers so they wont fall into the traps of drugs and also committed any crime...

     
  13. Shelyn Says:
  14. Your photos and description of the jail made me feel like visiting it. But I heard they don't open it for public to visit anymore, right?

    You hate canning as a corporal punishment to those prisoners?? Imagine all sort of rape cases. Don't they deserve canning? I think they deserve more than just canning. OK... I just hate those beasts and I think they deserve to suffer the same as victims.

    Nonetheless, very great post. Should have posted it in Blog4ft!

     
  15. shloke Says:
  16. Jimmy Liew,

    Hi and welcome to my photo and travel blog! Thanks for your appreciation!

    lechua,

    A not too bad experience. I have seen too much horror movies to be scared anymore. LOL!

    Rafael Lam,

    WOW, thanks for your kind words!

    xplorer,

    This prison complex, is in terrible condition. It is truly a chance of a lifetime to visit Pudu Jail. It's now or never.

    I was looking high and low for the gallow chambers. Disappointed! It was demolished few months ago.

    Micki,

    It's very true! Everything is so historic...the buildings, cells, corridors, inmates' wall paintings and many more. I try to imagine what it will be like living behind bars.

    Thanks again for your wonderful translation. You are always there :)

    fufu,

    Glad to know the information was helpful :) It does pay to be a criminal. Seeing those 'rotan' corporal punishment freaks me out!

    Shelyn,

    I think the main developer (UDA Holdings) has restricted entry of general public inside the prison premises. Recently, some visitors were chased away by security guards. Um...perhaps too much negative publicity.

    On second thought, I concur with you. Rapist and vicious criminals deserved canings. But I'm still against death penalty.

    Thanks again for your continued support!

    Cheers to all!

     
  17. Likewise, I also oppose to capital punishment and caning. It's so ancient and does not really solve the problem. People are so naive, they think that by killing one person, we can use it to scare others. The fact is, is not that simple. If it was, we won't see crimes like rape, robbing, murder anymore in Malaysia.

    To me, it all come down to people's thinking.
    We need to have people who are willing to accept changes. How they think can result what type of society we can shape.

    If we still like those in the mid-century. Our behaviours will also act like them.
    In this 21st century, we can't do like that anymore.
    We're not just living on an island, we react with all other people around the world.

    A lot of things to share with you...

     
  18. shloke Says:
  19. londoncaller

    Those who commit murder and heinous crime do not consider the consequences of their actions. Murder usually happens spur of the moment - with no planning but the one simple objective to kill.

    Here are some interesting quotes about death penalty:

    “I have inquired for most of my adult life about studies that might show thatthe death penalty is a deterrent. And I have not seen any research thatwould substantiate that point.” – Former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, January 21, 2000

    “I am not convinced that capital punishment, in and of itself, is a deterrentto crime because most people do not think about the death penalty beforethey commit a violent or capital crime.” – Willie L. Williams, Police Chief, Los Angeles, CA

    Anyway, Dr. Jim L. Riley from Regis University, Denver, CO has a perfect summary on the justification of death penalty:

    "Moral justification of the death penalty can be justified by one simple principle: punishment should be roughly apportioned in severity to the nature of the crime. The criminal justice system throughout the world is grounded on this basic concept."

    Looking back, I would support death penalty if a person is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Try to imagine this -->Telling the public that death penalty is banned. What is left is life imprisonment. Um...that'll be CRAZY!

     
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shloke
Traveling & photography are the most rewarding & enriching experiences in my life. Photography is all about discovery, enjoying myself, having adventure, learning people & nature. The greatest experience for me is the connection I felt with NATURE. If you haven’t seen Malaysia, you haven’t seen the world! My photography works are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported.
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