Pudu Prison also called Pudu Jail was built by the British in 1895 as a prison in Malaysia in the Kuala Lumpur area. As such, it was used to house criminals including drug offenders, and was a location for administering corporal punishment through rotan caning.
It all began in 1891 and Pudu Jail took 4 years to build, and its construction began in 1891. Overseen by the British colonial government, convicts were enlisted to build the prison on what was once a Chinese burial ground.
The History of Pudu Jail before Japanese occupation
A few months after its completion, in August 1895, a cholera plague struck the prison and killed a few hundred inmates. Later, it was found that the plague was caused by the prison’s water supply system, which relied on an old well belonging to the Chinese cemetery previously on the site.
An inspection by the British colonial authorities revealed that the water in the well was severely contaminated by deadly viruses. The water problem was not fixed until 1898.
Even though this prison is located in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, in 1911 Pudu had its first European warden, Richard Alfred Ernest Clark. Among other things this prison is known for is that it was the only institution in the state of Selangor that housed both women and men with small sentences.
The jail also had its own garden where quantities of food were produced sufficient to satisfy the need of every single prisoner. Even though there was food, the cells in which the inmates were kept were claustrophobic. They were equipped with a window no bigger than a shoebox and a strong metal door, which made it impossible to break out of prison.
The History of Pudu Jail after 1940
During World War II, the Japanese occupation forces incarcerated many Allied POWs there. After the fall of Singapore, during World war II, the Japanese occupation forces incarcerated many English, Australian, and New Zealand prisoners there.
Japanese POW camps were run on different lines to what was applied to European nations. There the officers and men were separated in different camps and the nation that holds the captives maintains discipline through its own staff. At Kuala Lumpur, officers and men were kept together under the most degrading conditions. The senior prisoner officer was responding to the Japanese authorities for the discipline and administration of the camp. He and his staff were the media through which all Japanese orders were supposed to be carried out. This system suited the Japanese as it reduced considerably the number of prison guards.
The History of Pudu Jail in 1980s
In 1986, the Pudu Prison siege led by Jimmy Chua took place. In this incident, a group of prisoners seized and held two members of the prison staff as hostages over a period of six days. Chua led 5 prisoners to begin the siege by holding a doctor and a laboratory technician hostage. Fortunately, the siege ended without any bloodshed when it was countered by the Malaysian police counter-terrorism group, Special Actions Unit.
For what they did, Jimmy Chua and his pals were taken to court once more, where they were sentenced to the highest possible punishment of death by hanging. They were executed on October 10, 1989. Other famous gangsters locked in here include Brian Chambers and Kevin Barlow, executed for smuggling of heroin, and Derrick Gregory, also hanged for this same act.
Despite its dark history, Pudu Prison has its brighter side During the 1980s, one of its inmates, Khong Yen Chong was entitled to an award from the Guinness Books of Records for the world’s longest mural which used 2000 liters of paint to create a masterpiece of a tropical scenic mural.
The prison remained operational until 1996. After more than 100 years, this jailhouse was officially closed and all of the prisoners subsequently relocated to different prisons in Kajang and to the Sungai Buloh Prison.
The Pudu Prison Demolition
For a short period it was used as a museum and years later, in 2009, it was decided that this structure should be demolished. Intrigued by this decision, the Democratic Action Party of Malaysia asked Awang Adek Hussain, the deputy Minister of Finance, why this structure is not declared as a national monument of Malaysia and part of its heritage, to which Hussain replied that the prison is nothing to be proud with.
In June 2010, the eastern wall of the Pudu Prison complex was demolished to make way for a road-widening project. By December 2012, all buildings within the Pudu Prison complex were completely demolished, with only a part of the exterior wall and main gate still standing.
Photos from inside of the Pudu Jail
The stunning photos of an abandoned Pudu Prison before it was demolished were taken by Amri Daud and shared with the Facebook group, Malaysiaku Dulu Dulu, on 21st October 2020. . Amri Daud is a professional photographer, who shares his stories with followers. As the Pudu jail is now demolished, these photos are historic.
There were rumors that Pudu Prison was haunted. There have been reports of a strange Indian man walking the halls of the prison and disappearing around the corner. 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 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. According to several websites, the reason that Pudu Prison is being turned back into a prison for low-security prisoners is because no-one would buy it as for commercial property because of the hauntings.
If you’d like to see more abandoned places then check out our articles on the Abandoned Palace of Culture named after Lenin 1927 and the Abandoned Komsomolets of Buryatia Russian Minesweeper