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In Pictures: Thai prison fights
Inmates train for matches against foreign opponents for a chance to win an early release.
Last updated: 04 Jan 2014 10:29
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Sikhio, Thailand - In Thailand's prison system, some inmates participate in fighting matches where the reward is their freedom.

In a story that dates to 1774, Thai fighter Nai Khanomtom found himself in a Burmese prison where he was forced to fight nine Burmese champions in a row for King Mangra. Khanomotom defeated every opponent and the Burmese king was so impressed that he granted his freedom along with two wives - giving birth to a tradition of pardoning outstanding fighters. 

Most of today's fighting prisoners are neither famous nor legendary. They are commoners, unknown and widely disregarded by the outside world. They fight in tournaments called "Prison Fight", put on by a Thai and Estonian partnership in conjunction with Thailand's Department of Corrections.

Inmates battle foreign fighters in organised matches put on by Prison Fight, and those who win will receive money and have the opportunity to meet with the warden and have their sentence reduced. The more fights they win, the more time is taken off. An inmate is also expected to display good behaviour and personal development in addition to his fighting prowess. 

Many inmates are eager for the opportunity as each fight card is fully booked by the prisoners. The Thai prisoners win the majority of fights. 


/KC Ortiz
Prisoners spar in the makeshift gym of Khlong Phai prison. The history of Thai prisoners fighting for freedom dates back to the 18th century.


/KC Ortiz
Prisoners spend their days training in the hope of victory and the reward of an early release.


/KC Ortiz
A prisoner throws a punch in the gym at Khlong Phai prison. Muay Thai is a traditional Thai fighting style, known as the Art of Eight Limbs, as fighters use their hands, feet, elbows, and knees during combat.


/KC Ortiz
A tattooed prisoner kicks another inmate at Khlong Phai prison. Tattoos in Thailand traditionally hold a special significance for fighters, soldiers, and gangsters. The tattoos are said to contain a sort of magic that offers protection and strength.


/KC Ortiz
A prisoner spars the day before his fight, which will pit him against an unknown foreign opponent. The reward for victory is an opportunity to meet with the prison warden and have time reduced from his sentence.


/KC Ortiz
A prisoner faces off with his foriegn opponent, Aurelien Romeo of France, at Khlong Phai prison. This is the first time the two fighters have seen each other: Neither has any knowledge of the other or their fighting style or skills before the match. Fighters are loosely paired up by weight and height on the spot.


/KC Ortiz
A correction officer speaks before the beginning of fights at Khlong Phai Prison. Inmates and officers fill the stands around the ring as the entire prison yard has been converted into a Muay Thai arena for the day's fights.


/KC Ortiz
A prisoner performs Wai Khru Ram Muay, an elaborate dance performed by fighters before combat. The ritual pays respect to the Buddha and asks for protection for both the fighter and his opponent.


/KC Ortiz
A Thai inmate lands a kick during a fight at Khlong Phai prison.


/KC Ortiz
An inmate receives a punch to the head as other prisoners watch the fight in the yard of Khlong Phai prison.


/KC Ortiz
An inmate kicks his opponent, Alexis Barateau of France, as prisoners and officials watch on. Nine of every ten fights are won by the Thai inmates.


/KC Ortiz
A Thai prisoner raises his arm in victory after his fight. If a prisoner wins enough fights they have the chance of having their sentence reduced. Their fighting skills alone are not enough to grant them an early release; other factors such as behaviour are also factored in.



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images:
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captions:
Prisoners spar in the makeshift gym of Khlong Phai prison. The history of Thai prisoners fighting for freedom dates back to the 18th century.;*;Prisoners spend their days training in the hope of victory and the reward of an early release.;*;A prisoner throws a punch in the gym at Khlong Phai prison. Muay Thai is a traditional Thai fighting style, known as the Art of Eight Limbs, as fighters use their hands, feet, elbows, and knees during combat.;*;A tattooed prisoner kicks another inmate at Khlong Phai prison. Tattoos in Thailand traditionally hold a special significance for fighters, soldiers, and gangsters. The tattoos are said to contain a sort of magic that offers protection and strength.;*;A prisoner spars the day before his fight, which will pit him against an unknown foreign opponent. The reward for victory is an opportunity to meet with the prison warden and have time reduced from his sentence.;*;A prisoner faces off with his foriegn opponent, Aurelien Romeo of France, at Khlong Phai prison. This is the first time the two fighters have seen each other: Neither has any knowledge of the other or their fighting style or skills before the match. Fighters are loosely paired up by weight and height on the spot.;*;A correction officer speaks before the beginning of fights at Khlong Phai Prison. Inmates and officers fill the stands around the ring as the entire prison yard has been converted into a Muay Thai arena for the day\(***)s fights.;*;A prisoner performs Wai Khru Ram Muay, an elaborate dance performed by fighters before combat. The ritual pays respect to the Buddha and asks for protection for both the fighter and his opponent.;*;A Thai inmate lands a kick during a fight at Khlong Phai prison.;*;An inmate receives a punch to the head as other prisoners watch the fight in the yard of Khlong Phai prison.;*;An inmate kicks his opponent, Alexis Barateau of France, as prisoners and officials watch on. Nine of every ten fights are won by the Thai inmates.;*;A Thai prisoner raises his arm in victory after his fight. If a prisoner wins enough fights they have the chance of having their sentence reduced. Their fighting skills alone are not enough to grant them an early release; other factors such as behaviour are also factored in. Daylife ID:
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Photographer:
;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;
Image Source:
KC Ortiz;*;KC Ortiz;*;KC Ortiz;*;KC Ortiz;*;KC Ortiz;*;KC Ortiz;*;KC Ortiz;*;KC Ortiz;*;KC Ortiz;*;KC Ortiz;*;KC Ortiz;*;KC Ortiz
Gallery Source:
Daylife
Daylife Raw Data:
THAILAND PRISON FIGHThttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/THAILAND_PRISON_FIGHTen-ussupport@newscred.comUntitled Site10Thu, 02 Jan 2014 06:26:57 GMT http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/THAILAND_PRISON_FIGHT/slideshow/no-caption/02f680517fda5dc3781455949c5a86f8

Prisoners spar in the makeshift gym of Khlong Phai prison. The history of Thai prisoners fighting for freedom dates back to the 18th century.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/THAILAND_PRISON_FIGHT/slideshow/no-caption/02f680517fda5dc3781455949c5a86f8KC Ortiz

Prisoners spar in the makeshift gym of Khlong Phai prison. The history of Thai prisoners fighting for freedom dates back to the 18th century.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/THAILAND_PRISON_FIGHT/slideshow/no-caption/52409cc8caf0c8a4da993828d44d2da5

Prisoners spend their days training in the hope of victory and the reward of an early release.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/THAILAND_PRISON_FIGHT/slideshow/no-caption/52409cc8caf0c8a4da993828d44d2da5KC Ortiz

Prisoners spend their days training in the hope of victory and the reward of an early release.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/THAILAND_PRISON_FIGHT/slideshow/no-caption/d01d41470ec29d1006c219d50023a790A prisoner throws a punch in the gym at Khlong Phai prison. Muay Thai is a traditional Thai fighting style, known as the Art of Eight Limbs, as fighters use their hands, feet, elbows, and knees during combat.http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/THAILAND_PRISON_FIGHT/slideshow/no-caption/d01d41470ec29d1006c219d50023a790KC Ortiz A prisoner throws a punch in the gym at Khlong Phai prison. Muay Thai is a traditional Thai fighting style, known as the Art of Eight Limbs, as fighters use their hands, feet, elbows, and knees during combat. http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/THAILAND_PRISON_FIGHT/slideshow/no-caption/ae43df8d6e453536d24f57c4bd266f1b

A tattooed prisoner kicks another inmate at Khlong Phai prison. Tattoos in Thailand traditionally hold a special significance for fighters, soldiers, and gangsters. The tattoos are said to contain a sort of magic that offers protection and strength.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/THAILAND_PRISON_FIGHT/slideshow/no-caption/ae43df8d6e453536d24f57c4bd266f1bKC Ortiz

A tattooed prisoner kicks another inmate at Khlong Phai prison. Tattoos in Thailand traditionally hold a special significance for fighters, soldiers, and gangsters. The tattoos are said to contain a sort of magic that offers protection and strength.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/THAILAND_PRISON_FIGHT/slideshow/no-caption/8ce2eff29cea8f2791f446f54c0417fd

A prisoner spars the day before his fight, which will pit him against an unknown foreign opponent. The reward for victory is an opportunity to meet with the prison warden and have time reduced from his sentence.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/THAILAND_PRISON_FIGHT/slideshow/no-caption/8ce2eff29cea8f2791f446f54c0417fdKC Ortiz

A prisoner spars the day before his fight, which will pit him against an unknown foreign opponent. The reward for victory is an opportunity to meet with the prison warden and have time reduced from his sentence.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/THAILAND_PRISON_FIGHT/slideshow/no-caption/1c4beae9f2ae33b68f5114d3b84d3667

A prisoner faces off with his foriegn opponent, Aurelien Romeo of France, at Khlong Phai prison. This is the first time the two fighters have seen each other: Neither has any knowledge of the other or their fighting style or skills before the match. Fighters are loosely paired up by weight and height on the spot.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/THAILAND_PRISON_FIGHT/slideshow/no-caption/1c4beae9f2ae33b68f5114d3b84d3667KC Ortiz

A prisoner faces off with his foriegn opponent, Aurelien Romeo of France, at Khlong Phai prison. This is the first time the two fighters have seen each other: Neither has any knowledge of the other or their fighting style or skills before the match. Fighters are loosely paired up by weight and height on the spot.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/THAILAND_PRISON_FIGHT/slideshow/no-caption/963136e664e11abd433be89ff59905cbA correction officer speaks before the beginning of fights at Khlong Phai Prison. Inmates and officers fill the stands around the ring as the entire prison yard has been converted into a Muay Thai arena for the day's fights.http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/THAILAND_PRISON_FIGHT/slideshow/no-caption/963136e664e11abd433be89ff59905cbKC Ortiz A correction officer speaks before the beginning of fights at Khlong Phai Prison. Inmates and officers fill the stands around the ring as the entire prison yard has been converted into a Muay Thai arena for the day's fights. http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/THAILAND_PRISON_FIGHT/slideshow/no-caption/4131be9e84fc6bb0087acedfe8905c60A prisoner performs Wai Khru Ram Muay, an elaborate dance performed by fighters before combat. The ritual pays respect to the Buddha and asks for protection for both the fighter and his opponent.http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/THAILAND_PRISON_FIGHT/slideshow/no-caption/4131be9e84fc6bb0087acedfe8905c60KC Ortiz A prisoner performs Wai Khru Ram Muay, an elaborate dance performed by fighters before combat. The ritual pays respect to the Buddha and asks for protection for both the fighter and his opponent. http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/THAILAND_PRISON_FIGHT/slideshow/no-caption/2c59f5b33f372960075ab921c3520a74A Thai inmate lands a kick during a fight at Khlong Phai prison.http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/THAILAND_PRISON_FIGHT/slideshow/no-caption/2c59f5b33f372960075ab921c3520a74KC Ortiz A Thai inmate lands a kick during a fight at Khlong Phai prison. http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/THAILAND_PRISON_FIGHT/slideshow/no-caption/faeec71c1f0dffa2a6cc1ce921955c60

An inmate receives a punch to the head as other prisoners watch the fight in the yard of Khlong Phai prison.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/THAILAND_PRISON_FIGHT/slideshow/no-caption/faeec71c1f0dffa2a6cc1ce921955c60KC Ortiz

An inmate receives a punch to the head as other prisoners watch the fight in the yard of Khlong Phai prison.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/THAILAND_PRISON_FIGHT/slideshow/no-caption/0f705bb45eda780fc2e772233e366127An inmate kicks his opponent, Alexis Barateau of France, as prisoners and officials watch on. Nine of every ten fights are won by the Thai inmates.http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/THAILAND_PRISON_FIGHT/slideshow/no-caption/0f705bb45eda780fc2e772233e366127KC Ortiz An inmate kicks his opponent, Alexis Barateau of France, as prisoners and officials watch on. Nine of every ten fights are won by the Thai inmates. http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/THAILAND_PRISON_FIGHT/slideshow/no-caption/9c3ed8081cb62d00c3d969b8c9981014

A Thai prisoner raises his arm in victory after his fight. If a prisoner wins enough fights they have the chance of having their sentence reduced. Their fighting skills alone are not enough to grant them an early release; other factors such as behaviour are also factored in.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/THAILAND_PRISON_FIGHT/slideshow/no-caption/9c3ed8081cb62d00c3d969b8c9981014KC Ortiz

A Thai prisoner raises his arm in victory after his fight. If a prisoner wins enough fights they have the chance of having their sentence reduced. Their fighting skills alone are not enough to grant them an early release; other factors such as behaviour are also factored in.



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