by Alexander Hotz in New Photography on Thursday 17 October 2013

Last week I visited Bangkok’s Klong Prem Prison for Coconuts Bangkok to see arguably the strangest fighting event in all of Asia, if not the world. Thai prisoners were pitted against free foreign fighters in both Muay Thai and traditional boxing bouts. Both sides were competing for a little cash, but the Thai prisoners were also fighting for their lives, literally.

Prisoners who win a championship and thereby bring glory to the prison have a realistic shot at having their sentences commuted. The organizer said this goes for any prisoner regardless of the magnitude of their crime, but he was also quick to point out that prisoners are judged from a holistic perspective that incorporates their behavior outside of the ring.

That said, it doesn’t diminish the gravity of what’s at stake.