Can postcards help catch Europe’s most wanted criminals?

  • 4 August 2017
  • From the section Europe

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AFP PHOTO / EUMOSTWANTED

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The card from the French police is addressed to Farouk Hachi, who was convicted of several armed bank robberies. The French sign-off reads: “We miss you!”

It’s postcard season in Europe’s best-loved tourist enclaves.

And as millions of lucky holidaymakers jet off overseas, Europol is seeking help to deliver some “Wish you were here!” greetings.

The catch? The lucky recipients are the continent’s most wanted men, and this is the latest police push to catch them.

“Holiday destinations have proven to be popular hiding places for criminals on the run,” the police agency notes.

“They might even have chosen the same destination as you…”

The stylised postcards were created by Europol and the European Network of Fugitive Active Search Teams (ENFAST).

Each features one of Europe’s most high-profile fugitives, who between them have committed serious crimes in 21 European Union countries. Their offences include murder, fraud, and drug trafficking.

All are believed to have fled overseas, but police do not know their exact addresses.

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AFP PHOTO / EUMOSTWANTED

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The UK police want their postcard (and their officers) to find David Daniel Hayes, who is accused of multiple child sex offences

Crowdsourcing the search for major criminals has proved surprisingly fruitful in the past. European authorities launched a website highlighting the most wanted criminals in 2016, and 36 of those featured have since been arrested.

At least 11 were brought in as a direct result of information provided by the public. Four even turned themselves in after appearing on the list.

Investigators hope the postcards’ wry humour will ensure they’re shared from the top of the Eiffel Tower to the shores of the Adriatic.

Or indeed, wherever the most wanted may be hiding.

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AFP PHOTO / EUMOSTWANTED

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Featuring a cartoon of the Manneken Pis, some fries and a beer, the Belgian card is addressed to Artur Nawrocki, who is on the run after a drug trafficking conviction

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