Image 1 of 1
A warder watches inmates during a Muay Thai (kickboxing) training session at the Klong Prem high-security prison. The man on the right is Moo, one of the prison's best fighters. The prison is involved in an rehabilitation programme using Muay Thai. In 2012 an Estonian entrepreneur, in conjunction with Thailand’s Department of Corrections, began a series of bouts arranged between Thai prisoners and Western Muay Thai fighters under the banner 'Prison Fight'. For the prisoners a victory holds the potential of time off their sentence while the Westerners fight for a small purse and personal ambition. Muay Thai has a long association with prisons and prisoners and even its origin myths involve the incarcerated. It is said that in 1774 the Burmese king Hsinbyushin organised a series of fights between a Thai prisoner, Nai Khanomtom, captured during the conquest of the Siamese capital Ayutthaya seven years earlier, and nine Burmese champions. After defeating them all the king gave Nai Khanomtom his freedom.