Top French convict flees prison in hijacked chopper
A notorious French gangster pulled off a daring jailbreak with the help of his heavily armed accomplices, by escaping in a hijacked helicopter that...
Paris [France]: A notorious French gangster pulled off a daring jailbreak with the help of his heavily armed accomplices, by escaping in a hijacked helicopter that landed in the premises of a prison near Paris.
Redoine Faid was serving a 25-year sentence in prison for a botched armed robbery and the murder of French policewoman Aurelie Fouquet during the heist in 2010.
Two other men were also sentenced for Fouquet's murder, CNN reported.
According to the French Interior Ministry, two to three heavily armed men hijacked a helicopter and forced the pilot to fly to Reau Prison in Seine-et-Marne, near Paris, where Faid was lodged.
As the helicopter landed in the Reau Prison, the men barged into the prison and freed Faid, as per the report.
Faid and his accomplices made their way back to the helicopter, following which the armed men forced the pilot to fly them to Val d'Oise region, situated northwest of Paris, before releasing the pilot unharmed, the Ministry added.
The party then fled in an unidentified vehicle.
The interior ministry stressed that the police have been mobilised and are keeping a close watch on borders in a bid to catch Faid.
This is Faid's second prison escape.
In 2013, the French gangster took four prison officers as hostages before using explosives to blast his way out from jail and fled in a car.
Penitentiary union spokesman Etienne Dobrometz told CNN affiliate BFMTV, "While escaping, he detonated explosives to destroy five doors."
It was not immediately clear as to how Faid got access to a gun and explosives.
While on the run, the 46-year-old grew a beard and wore a wig. After an international manhunt, he was finally caught at a hotel east of Paris in May 2013 and locked up in a different prison.
According to Paris prosecutor's office, Faid was sentenced to 10 years for the 2013 jailbreak.
Faid's former lawyer Christian Saint-Palais said that the French gangster "had always denied his involvement in the case."
As per several French media reports, he led a gang responsible for robbing several banks and armoured vans.
In 1998, Faid was arrested after he was on the run in Switzerland and Israel for the last three years.
Eight years later, he was acquitted after vowing to prison officers that he would change himself and turn his life around.