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Thai Prisoners Can 'Fight For Their Freedom' Via Unusual Rehabilitation Scheme

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Thai Prisoners Can 'Fight For Their Freedom' Via Unusual Rehabilitation Scheme

Prisoners in Thailand can actually fight themselves out of jail as part of an unusual rehabilitation programme, which sees convicts engage in Muay Thai matches in exchange for an early release. See how it works here:


The Prison Fight scheme was introduced in 2012 and it gives Thai prisoners the opportunity to take on foreign fighters and in return see time slashed off their sentences and even gain their freedom if they win.

A clip from TikTok user @dereckramireztv shows the scheme in action.


Prison Fight is organised in conjunction with the Thai Department of Corrections and aims to promote sport and better health within prisons.

But the scheme is not designed to free dangerous criminals back to the streets. Those who are selected to take part must show exemplary behaviour and be able to point out personal development to officials.

Prison Fight creator Aree Chaloisuk, formerly the director of Klong Pai Prison, has previously said he wanted the scheme to 'capitalise on the popularity of a national sport and exploit the rehabilitative power of fighting's discipline'.

If the prisoners lose their matches, they return to their cells while the professional fighter goes home with the prize money.


A Showtime documentary, titled Prison Fighters: 5 Rounds to Freedom, took a look at the scheme.

It centred on gangster Noy Khaopan who was released six years early from Khao Prik Prison after taking on US national and professional fighter Cody Moberly.

Credit: TikTok/@dereckramireztv
Credit: TikTok/@dereckramireztv

Speaking ahead of the fight, Moberly - who lives and works in Thailand - told The New York Post: "It was important for me to head home a winner.


"I felt like I had the victim on my shoulder."

Khaopan was serving an 11-year-sentence for the 2010 stabbing of a teenage boy. Admitting his guilt, he told the filmmakers: "I lost control. I was drunk. I killed him.

"I have to accept the truth."

But after taking on and beating Moberly, he earned himself an early release.


Following his release, he went to work on his parents' chicken farm.

He told the documentary makers: "I don't need forgiveness from everyone in this world.

"If my parents forgive me I am satisfied."

Previous fight-for-freedom schemes in the country have gone on to launch the fighting careers of convicts - with one even representing his country at the Olympics.

Featured Image Credit: Showtime

Topics: SPORT, Interesting, Thailand, Weird

Claire Reid
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