Locked Up Abroad Where Are They Now?: Tom Hanway

If you tuned in to Tom Hanway’s heart-pounding story on Locked Up Abroad: Chilean Prison Break, I’m sure you have questions. We checked in with Tom to get answers and see what life is like for him today and here’s what he had to say:

Did you ever figure out why Steve turned you in? Was he an undercover cop of just a civilian informant?
He was a paid CIA informant. It was reported that he was shot dead in a Lima hotel about a month after I escaped. Some people say I had something to do with it, my memory of that time is fuzzy. I wrote more about this in the second part of the story, although it is written as a “based on reality” piece.

The other inmates in Arica Jail – what were they in for?
Mostly thieves, there was also a political prisoner section separate from everyone else

What were the conditions in the jail like?
Dirty, overcrowded, but at least it was a small prison maybe only 150 souls and no gangs.

How long were you actually imprisoned before your daring escape with Chosco?
Almost nine months

What went through your mind during those two or three weeks you and Chosco waited for the right two guards to be on duty in the tower for your escape?
I wondered if I really had the balls to do it, but could’nt hardly wait to find out.

How did it feel when you actually climbed over the 8-foot brick wall and landed in the street, out of jail, and unharmed?

Were you able to piece together the reason why Chosco was killed in the desert?
More than likely he tried to steal the Indians horses.

You had to be quick on your feet and make fast decisions during your escape, and one of the things you did was lie that you were a French tourist. Do you actually speak French? How did you convince the cops that your story was legit?
I spoke some basic French Par les vous France, when thay did not know that, I knew they did not understand French. I think I told them that I loved them and wanted to sleep with them, the accent was all that they recognized.

What happened after you walked across the border into Peru – what did you do next?
That is a long story, which will be told soon in some form of media, I may even put it on my Facebook page.

Can you share a bit about your life now? What are you up to?
I live in what we call paradise, the central coast of California. I spend most my time upkeeping my property, and gardening  and some writing. I have two grandchildren who live with my daughter and her husband near Las Vegas.

Any regrets?
There were some heartbreaking situations that happened in the second part of the story, that left me with regrets. Overall though, the years I spent doing drugs was such a waste of life.


  1. Trevor cuthbert
    Vancouver BC
    October 5, 2012, 2:01 am

    Wow no words but I’ll try ,… That had to be one of the best no the best locked up stories aired to date and In way shape or form should have that story been told with only a one hour documentary sorry NATGO best ever but can you say BIG SCREEN damn I would have loved to have watched that story unfold on the big screen big talent big director wounder if it could still be made I would still go see it even tho I know the ending … Well I guess I do have some words but WOW …… Enjoy life bro and thanks for sharing !!!

  2. Midknight
    October 14, 2012, 12:40 pm

    I agree that Tom’s story was one of the best episodes of Locked Up Abroad. One part that puzzled me was the guide Chosco hired. Did I miss something ? Whatever happened to him ? He had a gun to defend himself. Was he presumed to be killed with Chosco and burned ?

  3. Ellie
    October 25, 2012, 2:46 am

    Edge of the Seat stuff! Does anyone know if he ever wrote a book about this? What a story that would be! Alot of Luck rode on that escape, I doubt many would have come out alive but he also had true survival spirit and in a strange kind of way deserved to be free even after what he did. He doesn’t seem a bad man, just took the wrong turn once in life. Awesome!

  4. didi
    jakarta, indonesia
    November 15, 2012, 12:12 pm

    Ohhh myy god.. Lucky Mr. Tom Hanway escaped from chile prison. I’m very touched with this story.. Awesome, rocks!!

  5. Tony
    January 5, 2013, 8:46 am

    Agreed – a great story… one of the best I think. A few parts of it seem a little bit embellished though… when Tom talks of the second part as ‘based on reality’ what does he mean?

    All in all though v entertaining and glad it had a happy ending.

  6. spy
    April 7, 2013, 10:20 am

    i think tom hanway killed chosco in the desert because he was asking for the money and tom didnt had it

  7. science
    June 21, 2013, 8:32 pm

    I agree with spy… that whole part of the story doesn’t sound kosher. chosco just ends up killed by some indians? and burnt? nope. there is a lot more to that part of the story, I’m sure.

  8. LiverpoolVasco
    February 16, 2014, 1:17 am

    This Was The First Banged Up Abroad Ive Seen Unbelievable Story Truly Amazing Tom Was Destined To Be Free Congratulations Tom. Defo Big Screen Material Better Than Midnight Express.I Think Chosco Was Killed By Cannibals Ended Up On BBQ Chosco Burger book are movie would be best seller ! Thanks Tom All The Best In The Future

  9. AJ
    April 5, 2014, 3:05 am

    THE BEST story so far and most deserved escape. People are sitting there and cooking others for lunch and you got locked up for 5 years for some acid on a piece of paper? Glad that Asshole informant was killed, got more than he deserved. Goes to show you what a retarded justice system that is in place in a country where people are eating each other for lunch!

  10. Vegan Bogan
    January 12, 2016, 6:52 am

    Interesting story, it would appear the narrative up to the safe house was true. After that several possibilities occurred.

    Most likely they just escaped to Peru and Tom is just protecting Chosco’s identity.

    Escape to Boliva across a scorching desert, barbecue Chosco, the barn busting and taxi dude, is nonsense, those parts sound too fantastic.
    But hey makes a great story!

  11. Tmac
    February 15, 2016, 12:26 pm

    Yeah that story about seeing his partner in a fire made no sense to me. I too say Tom killed them. And how did the police not know that he was the escaped gringo with the taxi cab driver knew right away? Yes I agree it was intriguing story but it didn’t make sense

  12. NealR
    May 30, 2016, 4:54 pm

    The only part of the story that wasn’t believable was Chosco’s death. I have no doubt that Tom killed him because of the money demand. Perhaps it broke out into a fight and Tom had a him-or-me moment. I can’t blame him for that, but as a prison escapee, it would have been not only impossible to explain, but in his position, all the more reason why he needed to get to the border and make up a story just in case there was any possibility of a future extradition request.