World News

Gangster makes spectacular escape from French jail in helicopter

Gangster makes spectacular escape from French jail in helicopter

A manhunt is now underway to find one of Redoine Faid, France's most notorious gangsters, after he mounted a helicopter escape from Réau Prison, on the outskirts of Paris.

Faid, 46, was reportedly assisted by at least three armed accomplices who picked him up by helicopter from the Reau prison courtyard, in the southeastern suburbs of Paris, Le Parisien newspaper reported.

Faid's escape came after an appeals court sentenced him to 25 years for masterminding an armed robbery in 2010, during which a police officer was killed.

Faid has escaped from behind bars before - the previous time he used explosives hidden in tissues.

Born into a family of 11 brothers in the gritty Paris suburb of Creil, Faid dabbled in crime from an early age, stealing a supermarket trolley filled with candies at the age of six.

The French Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe, wants to catch Faid as quickly as possible.

The whole operation, which lasted just 10 minutes, was well planned with a smooth conclusion in the form of a helicopter escape, Delabroye said.

His fame has increased since then following appearances in several television shows and authoring books recounting his past and rise as a criminal in Paris' tough suburbs.

In this scenario, the drones flying around the prison were likely used to survey the area to plan Faid's escape. In 2013, he managed to escape a prison in Lille, France.

One of his prison supervisors said that Faid had never had any disputes with staff, "but we must always be wary". Once in the jail, they found Faid, while one gunman stayed with the helicopter, before they all escaped.

The French National Police are still in search of the gangster. The pilot of the helicopter, who was forced to fly the escapee, was unharmed.

Faid said his life of crime was inspired by films such as Scarface, and has co-authored two books about his time in gangs in the suburbs of Paris. Faid later wrote that he had watched Mann's film "Heat" many times as inspiration for his bank-robbing.

Following a decade in prison, he was released under conditions in 2009 after convincing parole officers that he had changed.

The courtyard used in the escape "is the only area not equipped with anti-aircraft netting", reports France24, as it is only used when inmates are entering or being released from the prison.


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