Share article:
Share article:

Belgium’s Most Wanted list leads to 11 arrests

Credit: © Belga

In the less than three years since it was created, Belgium’s list of the most wanted serious criminals has led to 11 arrests, the federal police announced. “This shows the effectiveness of the list.”

The latest arrest came this week, when fugitive Grzegorz Janowicz was arrested while walking his dog in a Brussels park. He had been sentenced to 18 years in 2015 for manslaughter.

The list was launched in November 2016, with the names of 20 dangerous criminals. The initial reaction was critical. It was alleged that the tip-line, which was set up to collect information from the public, was insecure, failing to provide the necessary anonymity for witnesses. Some also criticised the “Americanisation” of the Belgian justice system, following the lead of the well-established Most Wanted list of the FBI.

Quickly following the launch, tips began to arrive on the whereabouts of Mark De Block, a convicted drugs dealer on the run, who was now living in a house in Dilbeek. Police were poised to catch De Block at his residence, when they saw that he recognised himself from a TV news report on the list. He fled out of the door with a suitcase, into the arms of waiting police officers.

Since then another ten criminals have been arrested on information gathered thanks to the list. A new arrival on the list was Lei Beaumont, facing life for the “extremely brutal and cowardly execution” of his wife, as the court described it. He fled to Spain, but thanks to the list was recognised by tourists, and brought to justice with the help of the Spanish authorities.

The purpose of the list has been demonstrated, the police say. Meanwhile, social media also plays its part, commented criminologist Wim Hardyns of the University of Ghent, speaking to De Morgen.

People can now easily share photos of those on the most wanted list via social media,” he said. “That makes the power of such a list much greater now than it would have been before.”

There are currently 19 wanted criminals on the list, including two women, one of whom, Fehriye Erdal, wanted for a triple terrorist killing in Turkey. She has been on the run since 2006, when she escaped in broad daylight in Brussels from a state security surveillance team trailing her.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Limiting private contacts ‘needed to fight autumn wave’, expert warns
The Consultative Committee announced it is introducing a handful of measures in public spaces to control the quickening spread of the coronavirus, ...
After 5 rescues in 2 days, hundreds of migrants take shelter in Italy
After five rescues in less than two days, almost 400 migrants aboard the Geo Barents search and rescue ship in the Central Mediterranean, operated by ...
Belgian wind farm closed down to save migrants floating in sea
A wind farm near Zeebrugge had to be shut down on Wednesday morning as more than 25 migrants had been adrift in its vicinity off the Belgian coast ...
Cinemas will require Covid Safe Ticket from Friday
The Covid Safe Ticket (CST) will be required to attend cinemas across Belgium from Friday, which marks the start of the autumn holidays, the ...
UN issues strong warning ahead of climate change summit in Glasgow
New and updated climate commitments fall far short of what is needed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, leaving the world on track for a ...
Disastrous year for Belgian beekeepers
Belgian beekeepers have experienced a disastrous year, with honey production 50 to 60 percent lower than last year due to heavy rainfall during ...
New measures for schools considered as situation becomes ‘untenable’
Belgium's various education partners met on Wednesday to discuss additional measures to implement in schools as the coronavirus situation worsens in ...
Belgium in Brief: Back To Masks
I really hope you didn't throw out all your masks. You'll be needing them again. Now I do appreciate that this isn't a huge change for ...
Belgium a climate slowcoach as EU reveals emissions progress
The European Union is on track to pass its first big climate test, according to new figures published this week. But Belgium has been singled out for ...
Belgium’s decision on possible third shot postponed until Saturday
The decision on how Belgium will proceed with the roll-out of third shots of the coronavirus vaccine has been postponed until Saturday.  The news ...
Experts and politicians respond to new coronavirus measures
The handful of measures (re-)introduced by Belgium's Consultative Committee on Tuesday in response to the worsening coronavirus situation have had a ...
New fraudulent e-mails circulating in Belgium
A warning has been put out about new phishing e-mails that have been circulating since last Saturday and are sent from what could appear to be an ...