A special forces officer guards Sequedin jail near Lille, northern France. Redoine Faid used explosives and took hostages to escape in July 2018. Picture: REUTERS/PASCAL ROSSINGNOL
A special forces officer guards Sequedin jail near Lille, northern France. Redoine Faid used explosives and took hostages to escape in July 2018. Picture: REUTERS/PASCAL ROSSINGNOL

Paris — A gangster who escaped from a French prison by helicopter with the help of an armed commando team was captured by police in an apartment early on Wednesday, ending another chapter in the life of a criminal known as the "jailbreak king".

Redoine Faid, who has said his life of crime was inspired by Hollywood movies such as Scarface and Reservoir Dogs, escaped in July from a high-security prison where he was serving 25 years for a heist in which a policewoman was killed. Faid was arrested as he slept at an apartment in Creil, the area where he grew up, an hour’s drive north of Paris.

About 50 officers, some of them elite troops, took part in the predawn raid, in which they also arrested a brother of Faid, two other men and a woman, police sources said.

Guns were found at the premises, they said.

Faid, 46, became a notorious semi-celebrity after penning a tell-all book about his colourful life, describing how he was born into crime in high-rise housing estates of the kind that sprang up around Paris in the 1960s and 1970s. The book came out in 2010, after his release from jail for a previous hold-up conviction. Within months he was arrested again over an attack on a cash-transport truck that lead to the death of a policewoman.

Faid took four prison wardens hostage and dynamited his way out of a jail in 2013. He spent six weeks on the run before he was tracked down.

In his latest break-out, armed men landed in a hijacked helicopter in a prison courtyard and flew him out.

Reuters