France 'jailbreak king' snared after Hollywood-like helicopter escape
Updated 13:40, 07-Oct-2018
A famous gangster who escaped Hollywood-style from a French jail by helicopter was captured on Wednesday after a three-month hunt that led police to a tower-block flat in an area where the man known as the "jailbreak king" grew up.
Redoine Faid, who has said his life of crime was inspired by blockbusters such as "Scarface" and "Reservoir Dogs," escaped in July from a high-security prison where he was serving 25 years for a heist in which a police officer was killed.
The arrest followed a massive manhunt, launched after Faid's daring helicopter escape from the Reau prison, located in the south suburbs of Paris.
He was arrested as he slept at an apartment in Creil, an hour's drive north of Paris and not much further from the jail he escaped from south of the French capital in early July.
On July 1, three men wearing masks and dressed all in black hijacked a helicopter with its flight instructor and forced him at gunpoint to land in the Reau prison courtyard, French Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet said at the time.
The helicopter was found abandoned and torched in Garges-les-Gonesse, a town in the suburbs north of Paris
Screenshot of Redoine Faid's profile on Interpol website. /VCG Photo

Screenshot of Redoine Faid's profile on Interpol website. /VCG Photo

Around 100 specialist police were deployed to track down Faid, who narrowly avoided capture just weeks after his escape and had to abandon a car carrying explosives.
Four other individuals were arrested alongside Faid during the raid. Two other people were arrested during other police operations related to the investigation the same day. 
Over 120 policemen participated in the raids to arrest Faid. Burqas, wigs, two weapons were seized, but no shots were fired and nobody was injured during the arrests.
Video footage from the scene of the arrest showed the inside of a humdrum fourth-floor apartment after a police raid, at around 4.20 a.m. local time (0220 GMT), early on Wednesday.
Faid, 46, became a notorious semi-celebrity after penning a tell-all book about his colorful life, describing how he was born into crime in high-rise housing estates of the kind that sprang up around Paris in the 1960s and 1970s.
The book came out in 2010, shortly after his release from jail for a previous hold-up conviction. Within months he was arrested again over an attack on a cash-transport truck that led to the death of a young police officer.
Faid's notoriety made himself almost a household name when he subsequently took four prison wardens hostage and dynamited his way out of a jail in northern France in 2013. He spent six weeks on the run before he was tracked down and put back behind bars.
His latest break-out, in which armed men landed in a hijacked helicopter in a prison courtyard to free him from an adjacent visitor room and then fly him out, prompted a political debate over security in France, where wardens went on strike last year over safety standards.
(Top image: French police patrol near a Alouette II helicopter in Gonesse, north of Paris, July 1, 2018. /VCG Photo)
Source(s): Reuters