Locked Up Abroad: Smuggling Drugs in China

If you are thinking about visiting China to explore its diverse landscapes and experience its rich culture, you are not alone. The most populous country is also the third most popular destination for tourists with over 55 million visitors each year.  With the Great Wall and Forbidden City drawing more and more people, China’s tourism boom is expected to accelerate making it the largest tourist country by 2020.

There are a few things travelers should take into consideration when traveling to foreign countries such as tourism season.  The peak tourist time in China is late spring and early autumn as the climate tends to be mild and dry. Those planning their trips at these times should make reservations in advance and budget accordingly as traveling expenses tend to be higher and hotels book up fast. Tourist attractions are also more crowded so be prepared for longer waits.

Knowing the climate for where you are traveling helps when deciding what to pack. However if you are packing more than your standard travel gear, like the subjects of Locked-Up Abroad: My Dad the Smuggler,  then you may want to look into the drug laws.  Drug trafficking is not a new issue for China with crystal methamphetamine being one of the most commonly confiscated drugs. Its coastal cities and proximity to the Golden Triangle make it an attractive path for individuals smuggling narcotics.  Lockie and Scott were most likely not alone when they were carrying 20 kilos of hash through customs.  In fact Chinese officials have found that drug traffickers are utilizing women, the elderly and children to transport narcotics in smaller batches. This prevents substantial loss of their shipment if they happen to get busted. In the end Lockie and Scott’s decision to divide their marijuana between each other ended up being a wise one.

Drug trafficking in China is not taken lightly. Individuals convicted of the crime can face heavy fines, lengthy prison sentences and in some cases capital punishment.  On June 26, 2010 a day known as “International Anti-Drug Day” sixteen people were executed for various degrees of drug related crimes including trafficking.  Though guards threatened Lockie with death, he was ultimately sentenced to 15 years in prison.  His son Scott’s fortune was a little better as he was able to make it through customs in Hong Kong and Japan with 10 kilos of hash. However, if the drugs had been discovered he would have faced a similar sentencing as Japan also enforces a zero tolerance approach to drug activity. Even possessing small amounts of marijuana can result in five years in prison.

The illegal drug trade in China has been influenced by many things over the years. When the country opened its self to tourism and trading with other countries in the 1980s it also opened its borders to illicit drugs. Unfortunately just as more tourists plan their vacations to see the Great Wall, more drug smugglers like Lockie are planning their route through the country and enabling the growing drug problem in China.


Don’t miss Locked Up Abroad: My Dad the Smuggler, July 2 at 10p et/pt


  1. Nigel Brooks
    Texas, USA
    July 2, 2012, 11:18 pm

    Unfortunately, this series serves to glamorize the low life individuals who seek to enrich themselves by smuggling and trafficking in drugs. There’s nothing glamorous about Lockie who recruited his son into his scheme, and there’s nothing glamorous about his son who upon being released from custody completed the scheme by smuggling hash into Japan.

    These folks are lowlifes, the lowest of the low, the dregs of society and they get rockstar treatment. Better that NatGeo money be spent to portray the law enforcement officers who risk their lives on a daily basis to stop these criminals.

    I’d bet that both of these losers are still playing the system by getting benefits from the UK government and not being productive members of society

    If you can’t do the time – don’t do the crime (Baretta)

  2. Ren P
    July 3, 2012, 12:06 am

    This sperm donor was never a “father”. He was not only an idiot for putting his son in this situation, but for smoking weed in a foreign country in public. It amazes me how completely ignorant people like this walk around the earth!!

  3. curious
    July 3, 2012, 10:09 pm

    What I want to know is, did the father get his bag full of drugs back when he got out?

  4. J Kilthau
    SoCal, USA
    July 4, 2012, 12:27 am

    I just finished viewing this mess. My thoughts:
    1) When NatGeo does a show involving Scots…. kindly provide subtitles for we English-speaking people
    2) The father should receive a hunk of lead between the eyes for involving his abandoned son in this stupid caper
    3) After observing one stupid mistake after another, I would suggest to the Scots that they stay home, put on a fresh kilt and toss logs rather than get involved in any criminal activities which require an IQ above 65

  5. Hao Hao Report
    July 4, 2012, 1:36 am

    Someone thinks this story is hao-tastic…

    This story was submitted to Hao Hao Report – a collection of China’s best stories and blog posts. If you like this story, be sure to go vote for it….

  6. Jack Fancy
    July 6, 2012, 8:22 am

    What’s the point of this video?

    There are too many stupid laowai in China already. If this video is to expose the ridiculousness of laowai smuggling drugs and the consequences than I’m all for it! But, it doesn’t look like that’s the angle.

  7. Lawrence
    Phoenix AZ USA
    July 10, 2012, 8:53 pm

    I love this series bit this episode is appalling. This “father” put his son in danger after not being there for him his entire life. Smoking dope in a public train in China? The moron needs to be locked up for life just for that.

  8. Bennett J Scharf
    Port Huron Michigan
    October 14, 2012, 5:22 pm

    I very rarely every call a person a name but this story got me going. This show about the father and son hash smugglers is just not boring but there’s a special place in hell waiting for the dumb weird inbred looking dad who was trying to make us think he actually cared at all for his son. I hated the whole idea that you guys at national geo is giving this guy some limelight and to get paid for being a scumbag. You knew this guy didn’t care about his son and showing us the parts where he is locked up at the Chinese prison yelling he wants to see his son or to see him pretending to cry over his son was sickening. He probably sat there just hoping his son got his dope out for him and the sad thing is his dumb son believed his dad actually had his interest at heart. The whole show was hard to watch just because of the weird looking dad who probably thought he looked cool or hip sitting there having no clue that most of us probably would of liked to of strangled him for what he did to his son. First I felt sorry for the son because of his piece of crap dad then it was like he was just as retarded and actually helped get his dad out unless they’re both lying about how they hooked up. Anyone the age of the dad and who still likes pot or hash has to have a few screws loose. I really didn’t know they had trailer trash on that side of the ocean. The worst part of this whole episode was to know these two morons got paid for doing this show. Don’t forget about that karma thing dad! You should have got life plus 100 years for just being a worthless retarded dad. You know the really sorry thing and sad thing was the showing the scenes of his dad acting like he cared for his son when we all know he didn’t. How could you not seeing your son for so long then turning him on to hash and then the smuggling of it think you could get us to believe you cared at all for him. Remember karma retarded dad….

  9. Bennett J Scharf
    October 14, 2012, 5:24 pm

    Should be called my dad the retard…and my brothers and my wifes kid….

  10. GlasgowKel
    October 21, 2012, 3:19 pm

    J Kilthau:

    Your racist comment infuriates me. Scottish people DO speak English and we are the reason YOU speak English in the first place.
    We dont wear kilts or toss logs you narrow minded, ignorant idiot.
    Us Scots have also given you pretty much everything you have today, including TV and Penicillin moron.
    Just remember the Scots are the reason you

  11. Chris
    October 24, 2012, 12:52 pm

    I love this show but this episode truly is mind boggling. How can an individual be so stupid? Carrying kilo’s of Hash then publicly smoking this illegal substance on the train while you sit nearby your stash! Wow! and the Son to sit and watch this happen says a lot about him too.

  12. sp
    December 28, 2012, 5:19 pm

    Just watched this programme and as I don’t actually agree with smuggling canabis found myself hopeful for both men. The human spirit always amazes me and too be honest it could have been worse… think the father son relationship was truly amazing and heart warming. Wish them both well as we all make mistakes.

  13. SF
    April 21, 2013, 12:32 am

    These two people hurt others by smuggling and selling drugs in China and Japan. Although some think that cannabis is not harmful, it’s proven to lead at least some into a lifetime of addiction to crack cocaine and heroin. The Chinese acted with restraint. Certainly, he would have been treated worse in a prison in the US.

  14. JAck
    June 14, 2013, 7:01 am

    First of all….
    That old man and that kid is stupid…
    Second of all…
    Not all people in US want to be drug dealer just because they wanted to…
    A few of this people were forced to…
    Just look at the statistic of people in US that dont have job…
    theres about 50% people don’t have job…
    like us… they also have family like us to feed…
    If they dont have job…. Tsstt… U can figure out that yourself….
    Is not that I supporting them….
    I just mad at their county for not giving their citizen enough job to support their life

  15. Andrew Failes
    United States
    March 24, 2016, 8:17 am

    I happen to know Lockie Campbell & he was always really wild & tended to do things more sensible people would not. Smoking hash on a train in China is insane as there are many undercover cops in China, however Lockie came from a very tough Glasgow background his dad was in jail for bank robbery he ran around with the well known gang the Calton Tongs & this upbringing tends to skew ones sense of what is & what is not. He became a Buddhist monk in Cambodia for a while & last I heard he was counselling drug users in Glasgow & writing a book on his up & down life.

  16. Lockie Campbell
    October 13, 2016, 7:35 pm

    I have read the comments on this Locked up Abroad episode and I want to say to the USA people cannabis is legal is several states. I do agree that is was irresponsible to take my son on this dangerous trip. I also agree it is just a small story in the happenings around the world. Some of you who have commented have freedom of speech and expression. I suggest the USA citizens use your freedom of speech to fight against your countries involvement in wars they consistently provoke and promote. You give your time to comment on a small time cannabis smuggler get a life.

  17. Richard Williams
    United Kingdom
    January 13, 7:52 am

    Their story is completely unbelievable! Son hasn’t seen his father since he was 3, has a decent life with a job and girlfriend. Out of the blue his father contacts him 20 years later, “hey son, want to come to Pakistan and take a trip up the silk route” reply…. “okay dad!”

    What a load of nonsense, he knew what he was doing, was lucky to get away with it in China and somehow managed to get the drugs through to Japan??

    Their story has more holes than Swiss cheese!!

  18. Alan
    April 11, 6:00 pm

    Lockie Was the hash still in the suit case when you left the prison

  19. Andrew Failes
    October 14, 12:30 pm

    A lot of you people have no compassion at all, in the 70s & 80s many people thought smuggling a bit of hash was fine after all maybe it would open the minds of people who can only see reality their way, a restricted, violent, my way or the highway, you people need to get high & see the light. However in many countries even smoking a joint is very dangerous so get high in Denver.