Prison (Corrections) Museum

The original Prison has been modified ans restored for use as a museum. The attraction is a little bit gory but "such is life.

The Bangkok Remand Prison (or Special Prison as the name says in Thai), was the first prison built in Thailand based on international standards. It was built by command of King Rama V in 1892 after a visit to a prison in Singapore. By 1990 the prison had become too cramped and overcrowded and so everything was moved to Lad Yao Prison. Most of the buildings were then knocked down to make room for a new park called Rommaninart. Fortunately, they decided to keep one of the cell blocks, three of the administration blocks, a section of the wall, two watch towers and the main gate. This was then turned into a kind of prison museum where visitors could learn about prison life and forms of punishment, torture and execution in Thailand since the Ayutthaya period.

In the first building there were many pictures showing daily life in the prison. There were also two scale models which showed the park today and how crowded it was when the prison was operating. There were many buildings and very little, if any, place for the prisoners to exercise. Probably the highlight of this first building were the demonstrations of the three methods of execution which were used in Thailand. In the first room, models were used to show execution by sword. Three men were used during the execution. One would dance and prance in front of the prisoner, and when they thought he was calm, the second guard would creep up from behind and chop off his head. On display are some of the original swords used to behead prisoners. There is even a picture of the last executioner who was kept busy chopping off heads as late as 1934. On display was also an axe which was used to chop off the feet. Their shackles were welded on tight so the easiest way to remove the chains was to cut of the feet.

The next method of execution was by gun. The prisoner was tied to a wooden cross with lotus flowers tied between his palms. A screen with a target marked on it was then placed between the prisoner and the gunman. This way the gunman never saw the man he was about to shoot. Between 1934 and 1977, a total of 213 prisoners were executed in this manner. Finally, after a visit to America, the prison authorities decided to change the method of execution to lethal injection. The first execution by this method took place in 2003. In the third room there is a table showing how the prisoner was strapped down before being injected. Many of the displays have English translations, however, there are some sections where the information is only in Thai.

Photo Gallery:  Slideshow > Photos > Youtube

Location: Bang Lamphu, next to a Park, the area is high in Thai culture, about 5kms from Siam Square.  map link

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Zone: Bang Lamphu, features in tour icons Family > Shopping > Nightlife
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