UK, German police have new suspect in 2007 disappearance of Madeleine McCann

In this file photo taken on April 2, 2011 Kate and Gerry McCann, whose daughter Madeline McCann vanished while on a family holiday in Portugal almost four years ago, pose before the start of the "Miles for Missing People" charity run in Regent's Park, central London. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 03 June 2020

UK, German police have new suspect in 2007 disappearance of Madeleine McCann

  • McCann disappeared from her bedroom on May 3 during a family holiday
  • Her fate remains a mystery despite huge international publicity which prompted reported sightings from across the world

LONDON: British and German police said on Wednesday they had a new suspect in the 2007 disappearance in Portugal of three-year-old Madeleine McCann and appealed for information about a German man currently imprisoned in Germany for sexual assault offenses.
McCann, who is British, disappeared from her bedroom on May 3 during a family holiday in the Algarve while her parents were dining with friends nearby in the resort of Praia da Luz.
Her fate remains a mystery despite huge international publicity which prompted reported sightings from across the world.
Police want to speak to anyone who has relevant information on the 43-year old man, whom they did not name, or the movements of two vehicles linked to him during the period around the girl’s disappearance. Both cars, a Volkswagen camper van and a Jaguar, are now in the possession of German police.
German police said they were treating the case as a suspected murder and had determined the method used to kill McCann. They did not believe the murder was pre-meditated and said the man was involved in crimes like break-ins and burglary.
British police are still treating the case as a missing person and described Wednesday’s appeal as a “significant development.”
They also asked for anyone who was familiar with two Portuguese phone numbers to come forward. One of the phones was used by the suspect, and received a 30 minute phone call from the second number whilst in the Praia da Luz area on the night of the disappearance, shortly before McCann was last seen.
“More than 13 years have passed, and your loyalties may have changed. This individual is in prison ... now is the time to come forward,” said British senior investigating officer Mark Cranwell.


Over 200,000 vote in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy primaries

Updated 12 July 2020

Over 200,000 vote in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy primaries

  • Exercise being held two weeks after Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law on the semi-autonomous territory

HONG KONG: Hundreds of thousands of Hong Kongers turned up over the weekend to vote in an unofficial two-day primary election held by the city’s pro-democracy camp as it gears up to field candidates for an upcoming legislative poll.
The exercise is being held two weeks after Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law on the semi-autonomous territory in a move widely seen as chipping away at the “one country, two systems” framework under which Britain handed Hong Kong over to China in 1997. It was passed in response to last year’s massive protests calling for greater democracy and more police accountability.
Throngs of people lined up at polling booths in the summer heat to cast their vote despite a warning by Hong Kong’s constitutional affairs minister, Eric Tsang last week that the primaries could be in breach of the new national security law, because it outlaws interference and disruption of duties by the local government.
Organizers have dismissed the comments, saying they just want to hold the government accountable by gaining a majority in the legislature.
The legislation prohibits what Beijing views as secessionist, subversive or terrorist activities or as foreign intervention in Hong Kong affairs. Under the law, police now have sweeping powers to conduct searches without warrants and order Internet service providers and platforms to remove messages deemed to be in violation of the legislation.
On Friday, police raided the office of the Public Opinion Research Institute, a co-organizer of the primary elections. The computer system was suspected of being hacked, causing a data leak, police said in a statement, and an investigation is ongoing.
Hong Kong’s pro-democracy camp, which includes multiple parties, is attempting to join forces and use the primaries as a guide to field the best candidates in the official legislative election in September. Its goal is to win a majority in the legislature, which is typically skewed toward the pro-Beijing camp.
To hold the primary elections, pro-democracy activists had raised money via crowd funding. They pledged to veto the government’s budget if they clinch a majority in the legislature. Under the Basic Law, under which Hong Kong is governed, city leader Carrie Lam must resign if an important bill such as the budget is vetoed twice.
On Saturday alone, nearly 230,000 people voted at polling booths set up across the city, exceeding organizers’ estimates of a 170,000 turnout over the weekend.