Locked Up Abroad

Raw Television for National Geographic, 2010

Also known as Banged Up Abroad in the UK, this popular show came to Cambodia to shoot the Locked Up Abroad Bangkok episode. The story of Australian Tim Schraeder who was arrested for attempting to smuggle heroin out of Thailand. He was subsequently sentenced to 100 years in Bang Kwang Prison, aka the Bangkok Hilton. During imprisonment, he contracted the HIV virus through drug use and was eventually released from prison on humanitarian grounds. Due to the sensitive nature of the script, it was not possible for the Raw crew to film in Bangkok and Thailand, so Cambodia was chosen as an alternative.

Successfully doubling a small city like Phnom Penh for a megalopolis like Bangkok was a challenge, but it worked very effectively in the final cut. With the exception of some stock footage of the Bangkok skyline and airplanes taking-off and landing, all the drama re-enactments were shot in Cambodia. This included some very complicated recreations such as Don Muang International Airport. Negotiations with Phnom Penh International Airport came unstuck over location fees, so it was necessary to find an alternative airport location at short notice. In the end, Hanuman Films was able to secure a new Korean-built structure, finished in glass and looking more like Bangkok Airport than the actual airport in Phnom Penh. It was dressed in 48 hours, including check-in desks, uniforms and an x-ray machine sourced via the Cambodian government. The crew were very impressed with the end result.

Other complicated scenes included several recreations of prisons and cells in Bangkok. Hanuman Films was able to secure permission to film in a Cambodian prison on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. This was a sensitive permission to arrange, but demonstrates the strong connections Hanuman Films enjoys with the authorities in Cambodia.

Locations: Phnom Penh, Kandal Prison, Intercontinental Hotel
Talent: Director Barbie Maclaurin, Justin Melican as Tim Schrader