Saturday, 20 October, 2018


Notorious French gangster escapes Paris prison by helicopter: Media reports

Bennie Garza | 03 July, 2018, 01:12

Redoine Faid, France's most famous gangster, is on the run after escaping by helicopter from a prison in the Paris region.

It says "an armed commando landed in a helicopter in the courtyard as the prisoner was in the visiting room" of Reau Prison, south of Paris.

A court sketch of French armed robber Redoine Faid at a February 2018 session of his trial in Paris over the 2010 death of a French police officer.

But his greatest moment of notoriety came when he pulled off an astounding prison break that involved taking four guards as hostages and blasting several doors open with explosives, which quickly put him on the top of France's most-wanted list.

Faid was eventually recaptured six weeks later at a hotel in an industrial area on the outskirts of Paris.

Redoine Faïd, 46, had been serving a 25-year sentence at a suburban Paris jail for a 2010 failed robbery in which a 26-year-old police officer was killed.

The prison courtyard it landed in was the only one not fitted with anti-helicopter nets as it is used by inmates exclusively when they are being admitted to or released from the jail.

However, Faid has strong links to Israel, and it is feared he may be trying to flee there.

France's BFM TV quotes a prison union representative saying that it was two men who burst in to search for Faid, wearing balaclavas and police arm bands. He described them as highly trained and heavily armed.

The two accomplices hijacked the helicopter on Sunday by posing as aspiring students at a flight school, ordering a terrified instructor to pick up a third accomplice before continuing on to the prison.

The helicopter was found burned Sunday, in the town of Garges-les-Gonesse, located in the northern suburbs of Paris about 37 miles from the prison.

French media reported that the three men took the pilot hostage and later freed him.

The BBC said Said headed a gang that took part in robbery and extortion schemes in Paris in the 1990s.

He had been released on parole in 2009, after spending 10 years behind bars for a series of robberies.

This is not Faid's first escape from a prison, either. He was arrested in 2011.

The French government pointed to possible security failings on Monday after a notorious gangster used a helicopter to stage his second brazen jailbreak of a crime career inspired by films such as "Scarface".

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