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National Geographic


Jailed Abroad tells the true stories that would be any traveller's worst nightmare - when a holiday in paradise becomes a journey into hell that ends up in prison abroad. From travellers who, through naivety, stupidity or plain bad luck, have fallen foul of a local legal system and found themselves behind bars in a hell hole jail, to adventurers who have strayed too far off the beaten track and found themselves hostage to guerrilla forces.

Some went in search of adventure, others a new life or the holiday of a lifetime. All ended up in a situationbeyond their worst nightmares. The stories include a naive 18 year old caught smuggling heroin out of Bangladesh to pay for her college fees; a young couple who travelled to Chechnya to set up a children's centre only to become the target of ruthless kidnappers and a journalist who entered Afghanistan in search of a big story but ended up imprisoned with members of Al Qaeda.


  • Jailed Abroad: Real Goodfella
  • Jailed Abroad: Real Goodfella
    Henry Hill, the inspiration for classic movie Goodfellas, tells the true story of his rise and fall in the New York mob. After becoming a gangster in his teens, Henry had it all: money, cars, women and respect. But when he was busted dealing dope against the orders of his boss, he turned from an invincible wiseguy into a mafia snitch with a price on his head. Going even further than the film, he reveals how another drugs bust whilst in the Witness Protection Programme almost cost him his life. As Henry says himself "20 years ago Martin Scorsese made a movie about my life... but there's a lot of stuff he left out!"
  • Jailed Abroad: Saudi Whisky Run
    Scottish chef Gordon Malloch arrives in Saudi Arabia to start a new life as a catering manager but quickly finds himself a profitable sideline as a bootlegger. His homemade hooch makes him the toast of the ex-pat party scene - and when some fellow Europeans offer him a role in a whiskey smuggling operation he jumps at it. Demand for premium quality whiskey in the strictly teetotal Saudi Arabian kingdom brings Gordon to the attention of the ruling elite and Gordon is soon supplying a local prince and various members of his extended family. After a near fatal car crash in the desert Gordon decides to quit while he is ahead, and he plans one last job before coming home to Britain. But when he is caught red-handed, he is sentenced by the religious police to nearly four years in prison and over 400 lashes.
  • Jailed Abroad: Cocaine Trap
    After months of hopeless job searching, Stephen Sutton believed his luck had changed when a businessman offered him $15,000 to transport "gold" from Argentina to Australia. But when the "gold" turns out to be cocaine, Stephen finds himself battling both tuberculosis and hostile inmates as he begins serving an 11-year prison sentence in Argentina.
  • Jailed Abroad: Backstabbed in Thailand
    Faced with an impending manslaughter trial, military veteran Kim Hood needs a break from life. When her girlfriend's cousin, Lisa Taylor, invites her to Thailand on a business trip to procure nail products for her new business, Kim jumps at the opportunity. But in Thailand Kim's suspicions are aroused when Lisa starts to become highly strung during telephone dealings with her nail product supplier. Hours before their return flight home, the true nature of Lisa's trip is finally exposed when the products delivered are not nail supplies but heroin. Kim decides she has no choice but to smuggle heroin in order to make it home in time for her manslaughter trial. Stopped at security, they are found to have 14 kilos of drugs stashed in their bags. Sentenced to life in a squalid Thai prison, Kim and Lisa wonder if they'll ever see home again.
  • Jailed Abroad: Dare devil drug runner
    Chris Chance and his wife Susan have their dream life in Spain running their own martial arts school-until their landlord doubles their rent. Desperate to stay afloat, Chris makes a decision that will change his life. He begins smuggling cannabis resin to England, concealing it in a rubber body suit. After his first few runs Chris becomes a full-fledged cannabis smuggler, addicted to the thrill. It's the start of a series of daredevil adventures on the roads, in the air and across the ocean that will eventually land him in prison.
  • Jailed Abroad: Drug dealer revenge
    Loving father Robert Pringle is a successful Cape Town company director struggling to cope with a sudden corporate expansion. Exhausted, he begins using cocaine, and when his ex-wife leaves with his son to begin a new life in the Middle East, he spirals into addiction. After losing everything, Pringle goes to rehab, and emerges clean, but penniless and is introduced to a drug smuggler, who persuades him to bring a package of cocaine back from South America for $6,000. Pringle goes to Peru and is duly given a package to put in his suitcase. But he panics, and en route to Lima airport, dumps the drugs by the roadside. When he returns to South Africa empty-handed, the dealer threatens to have his kidneys removed for $50,000 or he will take revenge on Pringle's family. The only other option is for Pringle will return to Peru and bring back the drugs. He reluctantly agrees, but this time he is set up. Forced to wear a ridiculous waistcoat obviously loaded with drugs, he is arrested at Lima Airport, and sentenced to spend seven years in a violent prison.
  • Jailed Abroad: Heroin sting
    Brigene Young, a 20 year old barmaid from Johannesburg, is offered an all-expenses-paid trip to the paradise island of Mauritius. All she has to do is wear a special pair of high heels on the trip over there. But when she gets busted at customs with a kilo of heroin, she faces a possible 45-year jail sentence - unless she agrees to take part in a dangerous sting operation to catch the drug traffickers.
  • Jailed Abroad: Mexico Money machine
    When Jeremy Khinoo loses his girlfriend and daughter, he escapes into a world where the size of your muscles means everything and steroids are a way to get there. With a group of guys from the gym, he goes to Mexico to buy illegal prescription drugs - and he pays for them with money he's made himself. The first two times, he gets away with it. But on his third trip, he gets caught spending his fake cash in a roadside store: a car chase ends with a police roadblock, and the drugs and counterfeit cash land him in jail. He's soon addicted to heroin, and before he's released, gets stabbed by another drug addict. Jeremy doesn't just lose his liberty-he nearly loses his life.
  • Jailed Abroad: Prisoner of love
    British man David Scott couldn't have been happier when he met Cynthia, a pretty Filipino woman, on the internet. After a holiday together in the Philippines he's delighted when she becomes pregnant but their joy turns to despair when Cynthia's estranged husband starts making trouble. Under the Philippines' adultery laws he has them thrown in jail and the couple face up to 14 years in prison. Worse still, they discover under that their baby legally belongs to her ex-husband and it's up to him what he wants to do with her. With time and money running out they decide to go on the run and escape to Thailand. It's a risky plan. Cynthia is jumping bail and if she's caught will be in even more trouble. When David is stopped at customs they think the game is up but it turns out to be a problem with his visa and once they've paid the excess fee, they are able to fly to safety. Finally, after a months-long ordeal, David Scott arrives back home in Swindon with his baby girl, Janina, and his soulmate, Cynthia.
  • Jailed Abroad: Teenage drug smuggler
    18 year old Vivian Carrasquillo from Brooklyn, New York is overweight and desperately wants money for gastric bypass surgery. It seems her prayers are answered when she is offered $20,000 to be a drug mule. The task appears easy when she's assured the Colombian customs officials have been bribed. But things are not as they seem and instead she ends up on a crash diet in a terrifying tropical jail.