The lockdown has caused people to stop moving. And the fugitives are running out of places to hide


Qiu Binhua of Shenmu City in Shanxi Province is believed to have sold the body for the ritual, making a profit of 5,000 yuan ($ 760), According to the police.

Qiu fled to Hulsai Sumu in the western part of inner city Mongolia, where authorities began trying to stop the coronovirus by scanning passers’ QR codes and installing checkpoints.

Police said in an announcement after his arrest, “Qiu, who had been in panic for a long time, was under pressure and finally transformed himself into the Hulsai police on 11 February.”

Without an ID card, he had no means of escape, he said.

Less movement, more monitoring

With prohibitions in many countries, fugitives are facing new challenges when it comes to hiding during the global epidemic. Some have been forced to entrust themselves, while others have been caught during the journey.

But as law enforcement ramps up their efforts to locate wanted criminals, the most surprising is trying to capitalize on changes in daily life to continue their game of cat and mouse.

When people photograph May 12 in normally busy areas like 42nd Street in New York City, it presents new challenges for fugitives trying to hide.

During Britain’s spring lockdown, the country’s National Crime Agency (NCA) arrested around 300 fugitives “That’s more than what we usually see,” Arthur Whitehead, the operational manager of the NCA’s International Crime Bureau, told CNN. This work was part of the “concerted efforts” under the Operation Certificate, Launched during lockdown to help locate fugitives and make arrests.

Those arrested include Arsheed Ali Khan, who had been sexually harassing a child in the Netherlands and absconding for six years. An economic investigation was conducted by NCA investigators, who traced Khan to the English city of Leicester, where he was arrested by local police in April.

“The lockdown was unique to us because it created an opportunity for limited travel for serious organized criminals who regularly see us getting out and gave us the opportunity to exploit intelligence, and we would act quickly Were able to, ”Whitehead said.

David John Walley, left, and Arsheed Ali Khan are among the fugitives detained in Britain, as law enforcement stepped up efforts during the epidemic.

“From the looks of it, being a period of lockdown meant that people changed their behavior so people became more dependent on technology where they were.”

He said an arrest was made for the fact that Target had not worn a mask, which made him stand at that particular location.

He said, “It was not a strategy we focused on, it was a wide range of looking at cases on an individual basis, where we could understand what the behavior of that person might be where they could go. ,” They said.

In late May, David John Walley, a wanted drug smuggler since 2013, was arrested by Greater Manchester Police as he celebrated his 45th birthday at a property in the area. Mark Physitibon, a drug smuggler from Mercedes and 16 years later from Britain’s Most Wanted, was arrested at Liverpool Airport in July after flying from Portugal.

Identify weaknesses

According to Interpol’s statement, earlier this year, Brazilian officials who tracked gang owner Gonzalo Sanchez spent three months monitoring their internal cycle on the southern border of the state of Rio de Janeiro.

The epidemic meant falling into the street, making it difficult for police to conceal their presence, and a ban on gatherings meant that Sanchez would not attend religious events.

But thanks to their increased oversight, law enforcement eventually found the necessary opportunity in the form of a family reunion. In May, the task force received intelligence that a group of people close to Sanchez were traveling the coast to Takri Henland, an exposed area with a few houses next to a large mountainous nature reserve. The police approached the vigilante and spoke to the locals who directed him to a house where Sanchez was found and arrested along with family and friends.

Brazilian police arrested fugitive Gonzalo Sanchez, center, in May as part of an operation of the Fugitive Investigative Support Unit of Interpol.  Interpol has blurred Sanchez's face according to his general policy.

Stefano Saoni, who runs Interpol’s LA PSCTO (European Latin America Technical Assistance Program for TransnationalLational Crime) support project, told CNN that the case was thanks to “great cooperation” between Brazil and Argentina.

He said the increase in the use of information exchange and technology such as border management monitoring systems enabled his team to arrest 10 fugitives and detect positive four since the onset of the epidemic. The team has arrested 60 fugitives since October 2017.

Julie Clegg, a private investigator and founder of Human-Eye Intelligence Services in Canada, said, “It is possible based on some pattern analysis and what one should do, that we know about their weaknesses.”

Roads empty during coronavirus restrictions make spies & # 39;  MI5 chief says hard jobs

“With any fugitive you have to first find out what their emotional weaknesses are, what the vulnerability is … often it’s news of a parent getting sick, or having a child.”

Clegg said the epidemic motivates people to “go a little bit more grounded” and stay closer to their networks, which can aid law enforcement.

“The fugitives go for a walk and then they hunk in a certain place that they feel safe for some time, and then they will move on.”

For the fugitives, who have arrived at a new place and are limited by Kovid rules, they said, “the risk of being potentially caught is high.”

Clegg said he had seen a substantial increase in the number of fugitives “handling themselves” in parts of Asia, especially if they were trapped in areas where the prevalence of coronovirus was particularly high or low level of medical care.

In Europe, she also said that different lockdown levels “force people to move out of a neighboring city or a neighboring city or their comfort zone, perhaps just enough time to pick them up.”

Strategy change

While some aspects of lockdown are difficult to hide, others provide an opportunity for creative fugitives to exploit – such as police distraction, widespread mask wear, and the increased use of digital environments.

Clegg said “smart fugitives” would avoid planes during lockdown “unless they are trying to bring back a family member,” and cargo ships remained an available secret method of transportation.

She said her workload had increased and shifted away from CCTV and facial recognition software to a broader framework of fugitives, as encrypted communications services such as Telegram and Signal, cryptocurrency and the Dark Web took many turns.

“You can cover the face now and you can’t be picked up by any facial recognition cameras; CCTV is a very difficult time for you,” she said, “seeing that the criminals are very agile.”

“We really have to change a lot of the ways that we work, we have to learn new platforms,” ​​he said, his team digging deep into the network of fugitives to predict behavior using machine learning Was focused on doing. , Artificial intelligence and geo-location tools.

The epidemic has presented unique challenges for global law enforcement, grappling with high murder rates, spikes in domestic violence and abuses, and new financial scandals. The FBI has warned of the need to increase vigilance around hackers, scammers and children to spend more time online at home.
Australian fugitive found hidden in ship's air conditioning vent with cash and knife

Peter Blakeslee, a founding member of Scotland Yard’s undercover unit and author of the manhunt, told CNN that instead of theft and street robberies, there were cyber crimes, frauds and scams, “because people were at home, spending too much time on their laptops.” “

He said the Shredder fugitives were very difficult to detect online because “they know that every keystroke leaves a mark, every contact leaves a mark.”

Police around the world are now dealing with additional Kovid-related work, staff shortages, and new security protocols, which may create gaps for fugitives to profit.

Jeremy Douglas, regional representative of the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said the perpetrators were moving towards the region’s less carefully polished countries during the epidemic.

“It looks like organized crime groups, as a result of Kovid, have intensified their movement towards weaker courts that are not able to maintain law and order effectively,” he said. .

He pointed to the huge variability between countries such as Singapore, where the government tightly controls the entire region, and nations including Laos, Myanmar or Cambodia.

Douglas said UNODC noticed earlier this year that law enforcement in the region was being reassigned to public safety and lockdown measures, and could be distracted.

“We saw that this could be a significant problem – distraction is an opportunity for criminals,” Douglas told CNN.

He said that crossing certain boundaries made it easier for criminals during the epidemic. The UNODC quickly noticed that the border police were “overwhelmed” by the amount of crossings, as migrants had to return to their home countries due to the economic downturn and job losses.

“Governments on both sides of the border suddenly became concerned that they could not have a health check-up, raising concerns about general investigations on smuggling and trafficking,” he said. Many of the Mekong region’s borders – including Myanmar, parts of southern China, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Cambodia – remain “porous”, Douglas said.

A UNODC representative said some fugitives from the area could be arrested due to border shutdowns or lack of flights, “leading organized crime groups not affected in the same way – they have influence.”

“Genuine fugitives and criminals are not able to cash in on Kovid, but the big boys, yes. They are able to take advantage of it.”

John “Buck” Smith, a former US marshal turned consultant and trainer for law enforcement, told CNN that while Kovid forced investigators to prioritize, they were interchangeable.

“The main resources are being channeled towards more violent criminals,” he said. “White collar crimes occur at the bottom of the pile.

“We have been tasked to go after these fugitives and Kovid-19, although it has limited some of our resources to go after them and we have to prioritize more, I can tell you that martial services are still fugitives Seeking, yet arresting. ” . “

CNN’s Hannah Zhang contributed to this report.

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