Paris, July 2 :France’s most famous gangster made a jailbreak in a commando-style operation depicted in Hollywood movies with the help of three heavily-armed accomplices who landed in his jail in a hijacked helicopter and flew out with him on board.
Branded as France’s “Public Enemy No. 1” Redoine Faid, who had already broken out of a different prison in 2013, was freed by an armed commando, two of them used smoke bombs, power tools and assault rifles to make their way to the jail’s visitation room where gangster Redoine Faid was rescued from.
The helicopter – hijacked from a terrified flight instructor – landed at around 11:15 am (0915 GMT) in the prison yard.
Redoine Faid was being visited by his brother in Réau prison in the Paris region when the men burst into the room on Sunday morning and extracted him.
“The escape only lasted a few minutes,” the statement said. “There were no hostages or injuries.”
The ministry added that the prosecutor’s office had launched an investigation and a search operation had been put in place by police.
The getaway helicopter was later found burnt, by local police, in the nearby Parisian suburb of Gonesse, next to the Charles de Gaulle International Airport.
Faid, 46, was serving a 25-year jail sentence at Reau prison, located 40 km to the southeast of Paris, for a botched robbery in 2010 that caused the death of a police officer. He had said his life of crime was inspired by films such as ‘Scarface’ .
In the 1990s, he was co-leader of a gang engaged in jewel theft, armed robbery and extortion in the Paris area. Although he was sentenced to 30 years in prison for these activities, he was released on parole after 10 years.
In 2009, Faid wrote a book titled “Robber: Cities of Organized Crime”, in which he explored his childhood growing up in Paris’ marginalised neighbourhoods, or banlieues.
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.
He was re-apprehended six weeks later at a Paris hotel and in 2017, he was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment for that first jailbreak.