The international police agency Interpol has launched an unusual public appeal to track down 26 fugitives. Interpol has released photos and biographical information on the 26 suspects and has asked the public to report any sightings.
Martin Cox from Interpol says the 26 people who have been named are particularly dangerous. "All of these people are wanted for serious crimes. They are serial rapists and murderers, serious child sex offenders, serious fraud, and also drug smugglers and dealers as well," he explained.
Interpol launched an international operation in May aimed at tracking down 450 fugitives. Around a quarter of those have been caught or located, but Cox says these 26 are proving particularly difficult.
He says the hope is they may have been spotted by members of the public. "They might actually meet them online, for instance, in a social networking site or a chat room. They might actually meet them on that. And they might be meet them on a club, which is actually online, a lot of people do these gaming online as well," he said. "So it might not just be actually meeting them in a bar or on a street, but they actually might meet them through the internet as well."
This is not the first time Interpol has used a public appeal to track someone down. It first did so in 2007 to locate a man suspected of abusing children in South-East Asia, Canadian citizen Christopher Paul Neil was arrested in Thailand only 10 days later.
But this is the first time Interpol has made an appeal to the public on such a large scale. Cox says it is part of an effort by Interpol to be more proactive in its hunt for fugitives. "A lot of information on fugitives is kept in our databases and to a certain extent if somebody crosses a border or if they are arrested as part of another operation then they effectively have a trip-wire," he said. "What we are trying to do now is to have a look at some of these older fugitives that are being out there for a long time and proactively dust off the actually files and go after them."
On the list of 26 fugitives are people from all over the world, including South Africa, Britain, Bangladesh, and Canada.