Fri, Jul 13, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Europol reveals ‘most-wanted’ team

AFP, THE HAGUE, The Netherlands

France might be facing Croatia in the FIFA World Cup final on Sunday, but Europe’s anti-crime agency is footing its own squad of a somewhat different kind in the run-up to the big match.

The EU Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, commonly known as Europol, yesterday began offering up their its “team” of 25 most-wanted criminals in an online game not unlike a collectible card game.

The Hague-based policing organization has launched a Web site displaying cards that need to be “flipped over” to reveal the name and photograph of a wanted criminal, plus background to their alleged crimes.

The criminals are decked out in blue-and-yellow jerseys — Europol’s colors — and wear the wolf’s-head logo of the European Network of Fugitive Active Search Teams (ENFAST) network.

ENFAST consists of police officers across the continent tasked with hunting fugitives from justice.


The e-cards read “WANTED” on the front, feature an outline of the fugitive and display which European country is looking for them on the backdrop of a soccer pitch.

“At the start of the game, the field will be empty. Starting from today [yesterday] at 8am, national law enforcement authorities and Europol will share different codes through their social media channels,” Europol said in a statement.

“You need these codes to unlock the cards of the criminals/players on the field,” it added.

The ninth and last code is to be revealed tomorrow, the day before the World Cup final.

The first code, #RedCardUROut, reveals three fugitives wanted by France, Cyprus and Finland.

One of the men on the run is David Gras, 48, wanted by French police for his alleged involvement in a series of robberies against armored trucks or banks in 2011 “using stolen vehicles, explosives and heavy weapons.”

“The main one was committed by a commando who attacked a cash strongroom in Orly. The criminals used an explosive device, which killed a security guard and wounded two other employees,” Europol said.

“We present the wanted list in a playful way, but behind it is a very serious purpose: To catch Europe’s most-wanted criminals,” Europol spokeswoman Tine Hollevoet said.

The “cards” can be seen at

It is not the first time Europol has used an innovative approach to boost public awareness of fugitives on the run.

Europol launched an “advent calendar” of most-wanted criminals during the Christmas season leading to three arrests, while a summer “postcard” campaign led to the arrest of three more.

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