Cops send postcards with an edge to Europe’s most wanted

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

THE HAGUE — Euro­pean po­lice forces are send­ing a se­ries of cheeky “wish you were here” postcards this sum­mer in a bid to track down 21 of the con­ti­nent’s most wanted crim­i­nals.

“Dear Ar­tur: Bel­gian fries are the best and we know you miss them. Come back to en­joy them — we’ ll have a nice sur­prise in store for you,” says one post­card from the Bel­gian po­lice.

Com­plete with a car­toon of the Man­neken Pis, a bunch of fries and a glass of beer, the card is ad­dressed to Ar­tur Nawrocki, who is on the run af­ter be­ing con­victed of drug traf­fick­ing by a Brus­sels court in 2014.

The sum­mer post­card cam­paign by the Euro­pean po­lice agency, Europol, was un­veiled on Fri­day as part of its on­go­ing ini­tia­tive to hunt down Europe’s most wanted crim­i­nals.

“Cher Farouk — You must know that life is best in la douce France. We hope you will re­turn to us soon,” says the card from the French po­lice, adding in French “we miss you!”

The pic­ture shows the Eif­fel Tower, a man in a striped T-shirt and scarf bran­dish­ing a baguette next to a crois­sant and a bot­tle of red wine, and is ad­dressed to Farouk Hachi.

He was sen­tenced in ab­sen­tia in 2009 to 20 years in jail for sev­eral vi­o­lent, armed bank rob­beries and is be­lieved to have lived in France, Bel­gium and The Nether­lands.

Be­hind the hu­mor­ous cam­paign is a se­ri­ous aim to drive peo­ple to the Europol web­site in the hope of track­ing down crim­i­nals wanted for se­ri­ous, vi­o­lent crimes or sex­ual of­fenses.

“While most of us are en­joy­ing a well-de­served sum­mer break, crim­i­nals are not tak­ing time off from crime,” Europol said in a state­ment.

“Hol­i­day des­ti­na­tions have proved to be pop­u­lar hid­ing places for crim­i­nals on the run.”

Since the launch of the “most wanted” list in Jan­uary last year, a to­tal of 36 peo­ple have been found and ar­rested — 11 of them as a di­rect re­sult of in­for­ma­tion passed to Europol.

MAX ROSSI / REUTERS

Pub­lic foun­tains bring some re­lief as Rome res­i­dents bat­tle one of the city’s hottest sum­mers in 60 years.

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