Photos of the abandoned Pudu Jail


Anyone who’s been to KL before 2012 might recall seeing Pudu Jail. This prison, strategically located near the current Hang Tuah train station, was a landmark in the city, and boasted the then-longest graffiti wall in the world that was painted by an inmate. The haunting tales often associated with it is something many of us are familiar with. But the prison has since been demolished, with only its gate and part of its front walls left behind.

This hasn’t stopped Malaysians from getting curious about the prison every time photos of it resurfaces. A talented Malaysian photographer who shared photos of Pudu Prison before it was demolished has had netizens in a stir over its graffiti-stained walls and abandoned spaces.


Abandoned cells and graffitied walls


The series of photos of Pudu Prison were shared by Amri Daud to Facebook group, Malaysiaku Dulu Dulu, on 21st October 2020. According to the post, the photos were taken on a series of trips out to the abandoned site with his friends. As the prison is now gone, he calls the photos he took priceless, as the site was rich in history and had many stories to tell.

Abandoned Pudu Jail photos
Abandoned cells in Pudu Jail
Image credit: Amri Daud

For those who don’t already know, this prison 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.

Events that took place in the building further added to the jail’s dark history, including a cholera outbreak that killed hundreds of inmates and the execution of criminals by jarring ways, such as hanging, inside the building.

Abandoned Pudu Jail photos
Entrance of Pudu Prison 
Image credit: Amri Daud

This is why Daud cites what the inmates left behind in graffiti art on the walls as one of the most interesting parts of exploring the abandoned jail. He listed some of the ones that he saw and photographed, including haunting ones of “Help Me” and “My mind is going insane in the jail”.

There were also some longer poem-like graffiti, and scribbling of calendars, along with pin-up posters of women. 

Abandoned Pudu Jail photos - graffiti
Image credit:
Amri Daud

If not for the dark history of this place, the overgrown leaves and trees covering the floors and walls of the abandoned prison spaces wouldn’t have looked out of place in a Studio Ghibli film.

Abandoned Pudu Jail photos
Image credit:
Amri Daud


Netizens praise his skills and photographs


As many of us have only driven past Pudu Prison or heard stories of it, Daud’s photographs of the now-demolished prison generated much discussion online among netizens. Some of them were low-key creeped out by the chilling sights, including Facebook user Hafizun Binti Othman, who commented in Malay, “Looking at the picture and condition of this place leaves me scared.”

Abandoned Pudu Jail photos - comment
Image credit: Hafizun Binti Othman

There were also many others who were impressed by Daud’s photography skills and thankful that his photographs have “preserved” the prison, and a piece of Malaysia’s history. Netizen Marzuki Abdullah commented, also in Malay, “Your photography is great. Preserve this treasure for the future generation.”

Abandoned Pudu Jail photos - comment
Image credit: Marzuki Abdullah

The spine-chilling photos also evoked memories for sone. Aliff Ihsan Rahman shared, “During my school days, they discussed the importance of this building as a national heritage site and its value for tourism and education. I went there myself when I was younger, and when it was opened as an exhibition in 1997-8. The visit left a mark on me. When I went into the cell, I made sure I wouldn’t become a bad guy when I grew up.”

Abandoned Pudu Jail photos - comment
Image credit: Aliff Ihsan Rahman


Old Pudu Jail photos leave a lasting impression on Malaysians


If still standing, Pudu Prison would’ve been 129 years old as of this year. The historic building last held incarcerated individuals in 2007, and was demolished in 2012 as it was never declared a national heritage site.

As a commercial city centre is set to to be built on its grounds, we, like many other Malaysians, thank Daud for sharing these photos of the jail’s interiors. Despite their chilling nature, they are a visual memory that help preserve this place even after its demolition.

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Cover image adapted from: Amri Daud & Amri Daud

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