Cyprus Mail
Crime Cyprus

Europol launches ‘most wanted’ campaign with focus on females

Cyprus' 'most wanted' is German Philipp Manuel Puhler

Europol’s new campaign “Crime has no gender” has revealed 19 female fugitives out of the 22 most wanted criminals chosen by different EU member states.

The new campaign launched this week to promote Europol’s EU Most Wanted website focuses on the story behind the crime while the suspects’ faces are covered with different full-face masks. As the story unfolds, parts of the mask disappear until they reveal the face of the person and their sex. The criminals in this campaign are all wanted for grave offences like murder, drug trafficking, fraud, theft and trafficking in human beings.

“In recent decades, the number of women engaged in criminal activity has increased, although at a slower pace than men,” said Europol in their announcement on Friday.

Out of the current 66 Europe Most Wanted fugitives, 19 are female.

“One of the possible explanations is that technological progress and social norms have liberated women from the home, increasing their participation in the crime market. Researchers consider it important to investigate female criminal behaviour to determine whether the policy prescriptions to reduce crime should differ for women,” added the announcement.

Altogether 22 EU member states have selected one of their most wanted fugitives to feature in this campaign.

The aim is to attract as many visitors in Europol’s website and gather more information to locate the suspects.

Information can be sent anonymously via the website, directly to the national investigators looking for the fugitive.

Cyprus’ chosen most wanted fugitive is a German 32-year-old man called Philipp Manuel Puhler. According to the police, he is suspected of firing shots at the property of a Cypriot national with whom he had financial differences as well as threatening him and his family through letters and emails.

The suspect is also wanted on suspicion of setting fire to a kindergarten owned by the daughter of the victim, and for throwing explosives in the victim’s window.

All crimes were committed in July and August 2019 in the greater Larnaca region. He was last seen in Colombia but is thought to be hiding in Málaga, Spain.

Along with Cyprus, only the United Kingdom and Luxemburg chose a male most wanted fugitive.

Europe’s Most Wanted was initiated by the ENFAST community in January 2016 with the full support of Europol. The members of ENFAST are all specialised in locating criminals on the run who are suspected or have been convicted of serious crimes and are subjects of European arrest warrants.

The approach has proven successful leading to the arrest of at least 21 criminals based on information received from the general public via the website since the launch of the project. Some persons also turn themselves in because the pressure becomes too high for them or their families.


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